Eating healthy can help lower your risk of heart disease. But with so many fad diets and conflicting information, you may feel overwhelmed about where to start and how to keep a healthy lifestyle. Our experts at Arkansas Heart have nine simple tips to help you with a heart-healthy eating plan.
“We want to help you make changes in your lifestyle that you know you can stick with for the rest of your life,” said Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Allison Bailey. “The question of “What to eat?” is far more beneficial to maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle than what not to eat.”
For a heart-healthy lifestyle, we recommend you:
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Eat more fish, seafood, chicken, or game meats when choosing animal-based sources.
- Drink plenty of fluids (mainly water). Around 64 ounces is recommended.
- Limit caffeine intake. The recommended daily amount is less than 250 milligrams per day.
- Cook with healthy oils such as olive, canola, or walnut.
- Use seasonings besides salt. Our favorites are lime, lemon, vinegar, garlic, etc.
- Control your portion sizes. Using a smaller plate helps.
- Add more plant-based protein sources, like nut butter, nuts, beans, peas, or legumes/lentils, and fewer animal-based proteins.
- Eat more egg white and fewer yolks.
Gradually add these new lifestyle changes and set goals in your daily routine. Set small goals, even if it is just one or two. Work on these goals for two to three weeks – the average time to establish a lifestyle change. Then, pat yourself on the back and keep going! A good nutrition plan is a key to having a healthier heart and improving heart function.
After following these heart-healthy eating tips for a few months, you should see and feel improvement in your heart health and overall health. Remember to always consult your physician before making significant changes to your routine. If you need a cardiologist, our world-class doctors are ready to see you at Arkansas Heart!
For recipes and other tips, read more of our blog here.