Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States. By adapting a lifestyle of regular exercise, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a heart healthy diet and routine screening for blood pressure and cholesterol levels everyone can reduce the risk for and prevent heart disease. The following 10 foods have been shown to be healthful for the heart:
Substitute olive oil for butter. One of the first steps to convert a typical American diet to a heart healthy Mediterranean diet is to limit saturated fat and cholesterol. Canola oil is another monounsaturated fat to substitute for vegetable oil that contains palm, coconut or cottonseed oil.
Cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring, have the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids lower the blood fats called triglycerides. Fish is a low fat source of protein.
Poultry is another low fat source of protein if you remove the skin and excess fat. Choose skinless chicken breast instead of fried chicken or processed chicken patties, which are high in fat.
Beans, lentils and soybeans are good low fat protein sources that contain no cholesterol and are a healthy alternative to animal protein. Try substituting a soy burger for a hamburger. Add herbs and vegetables, such as shredded carrots, onions and celery to maximize flavor.
By choosing lean cuts of meat, you can still have your burger or steak. Limit your intake of red meat and broil rather than fry.
This is one food to prevent heart disease that is not restricted and should be increased in most diets. Fruit is a good source of fiber and vitamins. The daily diet should include four to five servings. One-half cup of 100 percent fruit juice, one medium fruit, one-half cup of canned or frozen fruit and one-fourth cup dried fruit are individually the equivalent of one serving. If you choose canned fruit, select a produce that is packed in juice and water instead of heavy syrup. If selecting frozen fruit, avoid products with added sugar.