Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of mortality and often goes unnoticed until disaster strikes. It is never too late to change your diet to one that reduces your risk of CVD or minimizes the progression if you already have heart and blood vessel concerns.
Be Mindful Of Salt
The best way to control the amount of sodium in your diet is to limit the amount of processed foods you consume and cook foods at home. Many people erroneously believe other forms of salt, such as sea salt, are better than traditional table salt. Sea salt has similar levels of sodium as table salt and the only real difference is sea salt often has trace minerals in negligible amounts. Additionally, sea salt typically does not contain iodine, which is important for thyroid function. You should limit your use of salt entirely, no matter the type of salt you choose. Some people also benefit from using salt substitutes because they contain potassium, which can help with fluid and blood pressure regulation. If you are on heart or blood pressure medications or have kidney disease, be sure to ask your doctor before incorporating salt substitute or consuming more potassium in your diet.
Consume Healthy Fats
Fat is an important part of your diet and fat often gets a bad rap when not all fats are created equal. The main fats you want to reduce or eliminate from your diet are saturated and trans fats. Even fried foods are not completely bad, but it depends on they way they are cooked. For example, stir frying meats and vegetables, or a quick deep fry at high temperatures prevents the foods from absorbing significant amounts of oils.
Include foods, such as olives, fatty fish, and avocados. When eaten in moderation, these high-fat foods can be a significant source of omegas, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fats. One problem with the typical American diet is the fear of fat can lead to more consumption of salt, sugar, and carbohydrates beyond what is necessary. Incorporating a little more fat into your diet can help your meals feel satiating and also allow you to consume fewer calories overall.
Seek More Fiber
Just as the addition of fat to your diet can help with satiety, so can more fiber. Fiber is also important for removing excess cholesterol, which can reduce your risk of CVD. You should aim to increase your fiber via your diet instead of with supplements. Quinoa is a popular whole grain that has many uses and contains all the necessary amino acids. Try incorporating quinoa into a salad, soup, or side dish. Chia, flax, and hemp seeds are easy additions to salads, yogurt, or a fruit salad. As an added bonus, each of these seeds contains protein and omegas, with fewer calories.
Improving your heart health and reducing your risk of CVD can be just a matter of changing your diet. Taking small steps can make these changes seem less daunting.