Heart Healthy Diets Article - Allrecipes.com
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The Skinny on a Heart-Healthy Diet

A heart-healthy diet is a natural way to help reduce the risk of heart disease and improve overall health.

When it comes to eating healthy, every bite counts. What if those bites were of natural, unprocessed food? If that sounds good, the heart-healthy diet might be for you.




Heart-Healthy Basics

The basic idea is to reduce or eliminate foods high in saturated fat, salt, and processed sugar. A whole foods diet is naturally tasty and easy on your ticker, even potentially helping lower high blood pressure or high cholesterol.


    What to Eat

    Try adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to your meals. What could be less processed than that? If possible, skip the "white" carbs (think bleached flour and white rice), and opt for whole grains as they tend to be higher in fiber and nutrients.


    Omega-3: The Good Fat

    Yes, there are good fats and bad fats. Omega-3 fatty acids are good--and you can find them in foods like fish and nuts. They have been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease and are friendly on those cholesterol levels. Plus, they're really simple to swap out for snacks and meals. There are several quick and easy ways to add them into your diet:

    • Snack on pecans instead of chips
    • Trade the steak at dinnertime for a salmon filet
    • Sprinkle ground flax seeds into your cereal


    Getting Ahead Equals Getting Healthy

    Processed foods might be convenient, but cutting back on them can be healthier for your heart--and for all of you. Here are some tips:

    • Plan ahead: Setting aside time to plan your meals makes it easier to avoid the drive-through. Like to snack? Try packing some nuts or fresh fruit to curb those cravings.
    • Try a two-week challenge: Go without sugar and refined "white" carbs for two weeks. Many people report that they have fewer cravings as time goes on.
    • Reduce salt intake: Eating a lot of salty foods (not just chips, but canned soup and some frozen meals) can increase your craving for more salty foods. Canned soups, frozen meals, and fast foods can be surprisingly high in sodium. Remember serving sizes when reading labels, and see if you can opt for a low-sodium version.


    Don't Say "Diet"

    Eating heart-healthy options doesn't have to feel like deprivation. Think of it as adding food to your diet, rather than taking away. With dishes like grilled salmon, homemade hummus, fresh and dense salads, and refreshing soups and desserts, you can serve amazing meals everyone in your family will love. And that makes for a happy and healthy heart.

    Comments
    chrisl 
    Jan. 3, 2014 10:07 am
    I would LOVE to invite you all to add your recipe's into: HEALTH SIDE KICK, would love to be able to incorporate your recipes with losing weight! Usually I have to do a separate search, would be nice to easily log them as well!
     
    Oct. 20, 2014 7:04 pm
    Have Used Allrecipes for years love it ! But recently had minor heart attack . Can only find a few recps. for heart healthy.Can you/Do you have a special category? also suggest placing a "heart" prior to a recp. to make it obvious ! THANKS AGAIN !
     
    Cale 
    Jan. 23, 2015 4:24 am
    I have used All recipes for years since I cook for the church as well as home. Last Fall my husband began have severe pain in his wrists and arms which seemed to be caused by his "statin" drug. Since then we are on a 3 month "trial" with physician to control cholesterol with diet. I have been planning and logging the food he eats in a day with attempt to keep him below 100mg/day. (holidays below 200mg) With your "heart healthy" recipes it has been easy to plan menus. Thank-you!
     
     
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