Yes, what you eat makes a big difference to your heart, because fat and cholesterol are linked to heart disease. So is salt if you have high blood pressure. But the good news is, you can eat healthy for your heart and still enjoy foods you like.
Any one of these can increase your chances of heart disease. Still, you can lower the odds by changing the way you eat. Even if heart disease runs in your family, cutting down on fat, cholesterol, and sodium/salt reduces your risk. Losing excess weight also lowers your risk. Eating right and losing excess weight helps control diabetes and prevents damage to your blood vessels.
There are other risks for heart disease you can lower, too. If you smoke, you can stop. If you are under a lot of stress, you can learn to relax. And you can do simple things to be more active. Being physically active helps lower your cholesterol and blood pressure and control your weight. Plus, it helps you feel better.
What Is a Healthy Diet?
The American Heart Association and the National Cholesterol Education Program have set guidelines for a healthy diet. Each day your diet should have:
- 30 percent or less of total calories from fat
- No more than 7 percent to 10 percent of total calories from saturated fat
- Less than 200 to 300 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol
- No more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium
Learning how to eat within these guidelines may take a little time and effort. Your health care provider and articles like this can help. But the choice to eat a healthier diet is yours.
Why Eat a Healthy Diet?
- It lowers your risk for heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
- It lowers your risk for colon cancer, breast cancer, and some other cancers.
- It helps you maintain a healthy weight. Your health care provider can help you set a good weight for you.
- It gives you more energy.
What Are You Doing Now?
You may already be doing smart things for your heart. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day?
- Do I choose lean cuts of meat and low-fat or non-fat dairy foods?
- Do I compare food labels for fat, cholesterol, and sodium when I shop?
- Do I eat mostly fresh foods?
- Do I get some physical activity on most days?
- Do I use herbs in my foods, or use supplements to help with nutrients I am lacking?
Did you say, "YES" to any of these questions? Pat yourself on the back. You are already doing something healthy for your heart. But what about your "NO" answers? Do you see ways you might make small changes?
You know those foods you reach for after a bad day, or after receiving bad news? They are usually something special a family member made for you when you were little. Most often this means you are having a psychological-rooted craving. You may be associating a feeling of comfort with a particular food item from your past. These are good cravings to succumb to.
How About Those Herbs?
There was a time when food only traveled a very short distance. Grains arrived quickly from the farmer, milk and bacon came fresh from the milkman, most people had gardens to grow their own plants. Those were the days without preservatives and fertilizers and people were a lot healthier back then.
Massive production and manufacturing pressures inevitably result in poor handling and use of artificial preservatives. Due to this, a lot of the food that we eat today is lacking in important vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients before it even appears on the shelves. No matter how healthy the label claims the food inside to be, fresh is fresh, and preservatives mean loss of food quality for the sake of profits. A normal diet comprised of the same elements will leave you deficient in several important nutrients if it is not fresh.
This is one reason why herbal dietary supplements have suddenly become important today and are being studied so closely by the medical community. They are safe, they are as close to natural and fresh as they get, and they are the most effective means available to the common people to ensure that their body has all the required types of fuel to keep it going at maximum efficiency day after day even in the face of improper diets.
When you go shopping for herbal products, do a thorough research of the company manufacturing them. You are shopping for your health so make certain that it is safe from malicious products and greedy corporations. Look out for Certificate of Analysis (COA) for each ingredient in the supplement. Also make certain that the manufacturing company follows the GMP manufacturing processes.
Most importantly, before you make a purchase, take a print out of the details of the product that interests you and discuss it with your doctor. Some herbal supplements might be more useful for you and conversely you might be about to spend money on supplements you do not need in the least. Your doctor can help with the practical details.
Herbal supplements are growing popular day by day. People all over the world are always looking for ways to improve their health and more and more of them are turning to natural remedies rather than the mainstream drugs that have been around for most of recent history.
Due to this increasing trend, scientists have finally decided to conduct studies to determine the therapeutic benefits and applications of the different herbs and their extracts that are used in herbal therapies and supplements. A majority of results from these experiments strongly indicate that taking herbal supplements along with maintaining a healthy lifestyle and good diet can be greatly beneficial to general health.
We have covered a large amount of herbs and their benefits and warnings. Visit Herbal Bytes to learn more.
Keep morning and afternoon snacks small. A blend of lean protein and complex carbs gives your body fuel to sustain energy levels, rather than the fleeting sugar rush simple carbs, such as potato chips, provide.
Keep your snacks at the ready. Store bags of almonds, gorp, peanuts and granola bars in a desk drawer or in your purse or briefcase, and low fat yogurt, string cheese and apples in the office fridge.
Let your tummy be your guide - if you're still full from a bigger luch or breakfast, eat a smaller snack, like a handful of grapes.
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