If you are at risk for heart disease or your doctor has said that you do have it, there is no time for regrets on what might have been. Your past diet may have been littered with junk food, eating out and not enough healthy choices. Don’t dwell on what you should have done then, focus on what you can do now.
You can still come out ahead if you make the right food and physical activity choices now. Sometimes, heart medications may not be the best solution because once you start some of them; you may have to take them for the rest of your life.
Everyone’s food tastes are different; therefore your diet plan will likely be different from someone else’s. However, all of the principles stay the same. First of all, you need to greatly reduce the saturated fats in your diet immediately. These types of fats are translated into the “bad” LDL cholesterol in your blood. This is what helps clog your arteries to create a heart attack situation.
Trans fats are another no-no in the diet plan. So if you want to reverse your heart disease risk, you need to greatly reduce these trans fats from your diet. You will find this fat in processed foods, fried foods and margarine sticks. One ingredient that is a trans fat but is not labeled as such on food products is hydrogenated oil. Beware of this ingredient!
There are healthy fats that are better for your diet and taste great too. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that are found in vegetable oils, olive oil, nuts and other food items actually help you lose weight in your belly and help lower the bad cholesterol in your blood. Omega-3 fatty acids found in many types of fish as well as fish oil and flaxseed benefit your heart by lowering cholesterol levels.
Be sure to read food labels and look up cholesterol counts on your fresh foods. The liver already converts food into cholesterol the body can use so you do not really need to consume a lot of cholesterol from your diet.
Also, add plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains to your diet as they add plenty of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber essential for good heart and blood vessel health. These foods also offer complex carbohydrates that fill you up and provide energy over the long term. Avoid the simple carbohydrates like sugar that offer empty calories and little nutritional value.
Many people find that going cold turkey on certain foods can really throw the body and spirit out of whack. Instead, choose food substitutions or mix the good and not so good foods together, slowly phasing out the bad. This will get your taste buds and your body accustomed to a healthier diet.
If you are stumped on how to revamp your diet to include all the heart healthy items, seek the advice of a nutritionist or even your doctor. They have their finger on the pulse of the latest and greatest choices. You just might find out some great alternatives that taste good and fit well in your diet.