Weight-Loss Software > Healthy Heart Eating
7 Secrets of Healthy Heart Eating
By Terry Dunkle, DietPower Editor-In-Chief*
Healthy heart eating is not difficult if you know the secrets below. Practice them faithfully and you'll lower your heart risks by as much as 50 percent.
1. Lose Weight
If you're interested in healthy heart eating, chances are that you're overweight. This taxes your heart and promotes formation of artery-clogging plaque.
To find your healthiest weight, visit this page.
Despite what promoters of fad diets say, the only way to lose weight is to achieve a net calorie intake lower than your body requires for maintaining its current weight. (This isn't someone's opinion—it's a law of physics.) You can accomplish that by eating fewer calories, burning more calories in exercise—or both.
2. Eat Low-Fat
Because fat contains more than twice as many calories as protein or carbohydrate, you can lose weight without feeling hungry if you substitute low-fat foods for some of those you are eating now. Low-fat mayonnaise, for example, contains 50 calories per tablespoon, versus 100 for regular mayonnaise. If you eat one tablespoon per day, this simple step toward healthy heart eating will, in theory, cause you to drop 5.2 pounds per year.
3. Eat Fish
Recent studies show that eating fish once or twice a week can lower your heart-attack risk by 30 percent. That's a remarkable reduction. The secret is the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oils, which are known to stall plaque formation.
Tip: don't fry your fish—bake or broil it. Otherwise, you'll defeat the purpose by bathing the fish in harmful oils.
4. Switch to Whole Grains
Whole grains are rich in heart-protecting vitamins and minerals that you don't get from bleached grains. Merely switching to whole-wheat bread can lower some people's heart risks by an amazing 10 to 20 percent.
5. Consider Meat a Garnish
Most meat and poultry is rich in saturated fat, the kind that fosters plaque formation. Instead of making meat a prime source of calories, choose dishes that use it only as an accent. You may be surprised how soon you begin to prefer these.
6. Love Vegetables...
Vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals that confer wonderful benefits on your heart. They are also relatively low in calories, since most are more than 50-percent water. Increasing your intake of vegetables is a major constituent of healthy heart eating.
7. ...And Fruit, Too
For dessert, have a dish of canned peaches or eat a banana instead of a scoop of ice cream. You'll get a heart-helping dose of potassium and phytoestrogens instead of a slug of saturated fat and sugar. The same is true of pineapple vs. cookies or watermelon vs. cake.
...these secrets of healthy heart eating can spell the difference between calling 911 during your 50s or 60s and remaining hale and hearty into your 90s.
Would you give up 30 or 40 years of life for frequent helpings of prime rib and Boston cream pie?
*Terry Dunkle is a 30-year veteran medical journalist and consumer advocate who serves as CEO and chief editor at DietPower, Inc., a leading developer of weight-loss software and medical news.