Do you wonder what is the best heart healthy diet? Should you be eating the South Beach or Dean Ornish or Mediterranean diet? Is there a new fad heart healthy diet somewhere that your neighbor just told you about?
There are so many diets that you can choose from, the list can get overwhelming. If you look at the commonalities among most of the diets and in your spare time review the top medical journals you will notice the common thread is whole foods diet emphasizing plant-based foods as a majority of your food plan.
I would like to offer a simple approach to understanding a whole foods eating plan. Whole foods are foods that remain close to their natural state. When we are talking about plants-based foods we want to eat raw or sauteed broccoli instead of battered deep fried broccoli.
Whole foods are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes. When we are considering heart health we can also look at animal-based leans meats as well. Lean meats are the key and cold water fish such as salmon are considered healthy too.
The government recommends that people eat about 2 ½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit per day. I spend time focused on plant-based whole foods because according to the USA Today website most Americans are eating less than half of that amount.
Increasing your fruits and vegetables can positively improve heart health and that is a great place to start. Fruits and vegetables along with others plant-based foods like whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds contain fiber, vitamins, nutrients and phytonutrients.
Phytonutrients, or plant-based nutrients are high antioxidants, flavonoids, they prevent damage and aid in the repair of cells, this translates into protection from inflammation heart disease.
How can you increase your fruits and vegetables ? Make your plate reflect the colors of the rainbow. Red, orange, green, yellow, blue and purple are all good colors to have on your plate. You can find these different colors in fruits, vegetables and beans.
Choosing a diet that is focused on whole foods will do your heart good!