February is National Heart Health Month. This month brings awareness to the troubles that can be caused from an unbalanced lifestyle. Specifically with an unbalanced diet, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and high fat intake are all primary factors that can lead to heart disease.
When you ingest a lot of sodium, the fluid you hold in your body forces your heart to pump harder, which increases your blood pressure. Plaque builds up in your blood vessels as a result from consuming foods high in unhealthy fats and cholesterol. Overtime this causes your heart to overwork itself, as it has to push harder through the blocked blood vessels. These are all reasons why its important to eat a balanced diet that consists of the right foods.
Here are some of the foods you should be consuming to prevent heart disease.
- Fruits and Vegetables High In Antioxidants: These help your heart function properly as they are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber.
- Whole Grains: The raw, unrefined grains are a good source of protein and rich fiber that helps clean out your body.
- Limit Sodium: Aim for 1500mg- 2300mg of sodium a day, which equals to a teaspoon or less.
- Low Fat: Cut out trans fat completely. Look for heart healthy oils like olive, canola or nut oils. You want two percent fat content or less.
- Lean Meats: Always choose lean cuts of meat, poultry and fish. Fish is also a great source of Omega 3, which is a healthy fat.
- Eat More Nuts and Legumes: Nuts and Legumes like almonds, pecans, cashews and walnuts are a great source for health fats.
- Limit Fried Food and Added Sugar: Soft Drinks like sodas can be a source of empty calories. Stick to drinks like green or black tea.
Check out this link for some heart healthy recipes.