Start Eating Heart Healthy. Easily.

Heart Healthy Eating Heart Smart

Eating for a healthy heart is easier than you think, and also one of the most important things you can do for your health. Proper nutrition early on can prevent up to 70% of cases of heart disease and other related complications. Without the proper vitamins and nutrients in your diet, your heart can weaken, and plaque can build up in arteries much quicker, leading to heart disease, cardiac arrest, and stroke. Including the proper foods in your diet, can prevent these conditions.

You don’t need to necessarily need to go on to a special diet (unless advised by your doctor of course) but eating heart healthy is very easy to do, and it benefits every part of your body, not just your heart.

Getting your current diet-heart smart is easy! 

Start by knowing what to limit, what to start to include and making some better substitutes. 

When shopping for your fruits and vegetables think dark greens, deep oranges, bright yellows and reds!fresh produce of these colors are usually high vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. 

Snack Right

Instead of potato chips, cookies, candy and other processed foods, snack on the right foods.

Cut the refined sugar and deep-fried convenience and opt for a better choice instead.
Did you know many people aren’t getting enough fruits and vegetables? Snack time is the perfect time to rectify that! 

Try snacking on some fruit and crackers, or maybe veggies and dip for a quick snack! 

You can replace potato chips with making your own at home!

Try using kale or sweet potato instead, toss with olive oil and seasoning to your liking and bake!

Nuts Instead of Chips and Candy

Almonds and Walnuts are a great snack! The both have plant sterols, fiber and heart-healthy fats such as Omega 3s. Almonds and walnuts can lower cholesterol and protect your arteries from inflammation.

Try a handful of either or both when you’re hungry rather than a vending machine special, these snacks are high in the wrong kind of sugars, fats, and other bad ingredients. Nuts keep you full for longer and can satisfy cravings. 

Drink Smarter, Too

It’s unrealistic for everyone who is heart conscious to give up alcohol. If you are a drinker, you don’t have to cut it out completely. Keep in mind to avoid damaging your heart, to stick to no more than 1 or 2.

Try to Cut Out Beer

Beer is full of sugar and wheat, among other toxins. This can raise your blood sugar and pressure levels, leading to heart disease and other conditions such as heart attack and stroke.
Try not to turn to drinks that are made with a lot of pop or juice as a result, these are also high in dangerous sugars and preservatives, which not only are bad for you and your heart but bad for your hangover too!

A little Red Wine is Fine


Red wine is a heart-healthier choice. Red Wine has 2 antioxidants that can protect artery walls, resveratrol and catechins. Alcohol can also boost HDL, the good cholesterol.

Getting Your Current Diet Heart Smart

Try to avoid things that are high in or considered the following:

Processed
High In Trans Fat
High In Saturated Fat 
High Sugar
High Salt (Sodium) 
Junk Food 
Fast Food 
Processed Foods

These are foods that are fast food, junk food, greasy and oily.Things like pizza, hotdogs, chips, cookies, and other processed foods. Even seemingly healthy foods such as white bread, deli meats, and white rice might not be the best choice. These foods generally lose much of their nutritional value during production and tend to get more sugar and salts added. These foods can contribute to artery plaque and raise blood pressure. 

You want to limit certain foods, too. 

Try Including These Substitutions To Make Heart-Healthy Eating Easy!

Start by making simple substitutions in your diet, and start to feel the difference! 

The biggest substitution you can make is cooking instead of eating out. By cooking instead, your food is usually lower in preservatives, fats, and unnecessary sugars, among many other things! Your ingredients will be fresher, and you can choose to use healthier options, which many places do not. 

Try to have a balance of what you eat. 

Try to limit red meat to occasionally, or once a week if you can. Try to include more fish such as salmon or white tuna. Salmon is considered a superfood it’s loaded with Omega 3s, good fats, and oils that your body does need.

Try to snack on fruits, vegetables and things like nuts rather than chips or a chocolate bar. But if chocolate is your game, Dark Chocolate is the name! 

Dark Chocolate

Regularly consuming dark chocolate can help reduce a person’s risk of developing heart disease. Some of the things in dark chocolate, (flavanols), affect two major risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

The flavanols in dark chocolate stimulate nitric oxide production in the body. Nitric oxide causes blood vessels to widen, improving blood flow and lowering blood pressure.

Dark chocolate also contains polyphenols and theobromine, that aids in lowering levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the body and increasing the levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. 

Spinach instead of Lettuce

You want to be sure to include at least one of these foods in your diet. Start by swapping the lettuce in your salads and sandwiches with Spinach or Kale!

Beans & Lentils Instead of Ground Beef

Consider making vegetarian chili and burgers. To eat heart smart you want to start limiting your red meat intake. Try making your recipe with black beans instead for a heart smart switch that will make your burgers rich in vitamins and fiber. Black beans are rich in folate, antioxidants, and magnesium, which can help lower blood pressure. The fiber from black beans helps control both cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Barley Instead of Rice

Simmer barley into soups and stews as a great alternative to rice. Barley can lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. 

Olive Oil instead of Salad Dressing

Olive oil is rich in heart healthy antioxidants! When you use olive oil rather than butter it can aid in lowering cholesterol levels and protecting blood vessels. 

Try it on salads, bread, cooked veggies, get creative! 

Whole Grains instead of White (Bread & Rice)

Whole grains include whole-grain bread and crackers, brown or wild rice, quinoa, oatmeal, and hulled barley. These products are prepared using the entire grain, giving the foods more fiber, protein and B vitamins. They help you feel full longer too, which helps with cravings and snacks!

Sweet Potatoes instead of White 

They have more nutrients and a little less starch. Sweet potatoes are rich in fiber, vitamin A and lycopene, and won’t spike your blood sugar

Drink Water The Most 

Getting enough water is crucial to all major functions, not just a healthy heart. Drinking enough water keeps you hydrated and improves organ function, digestion, reduces headaches and muscle tension.


Living Heart Smart

Living Heart Smart Heart Attack Prevention

Your heart is the most vital organs, keeping all other organs and you going. So it should be someone we take great care of. Because once it stops, it doesn’t always start again. Especially if an AED isn’t available. 

Luckily, it is very easy to live a heart-smart life. These are all things that most of us are already or trying to do for our health. Including these things in your life are crucial for the prevention of things like heart disease, stroke, cardiac arrest, and countless other benefits. 

Lifestyle

Your lifestyle can drastically affect the condition of your heart, not to mention other vital organs and your overall health. Everything from how stressful our lifestyle is, to how we indulge and everything in between. 

 Smoking 

By now it is old news that smoking is a huge link in heart disease, heart attack, stroke and other various forms of conditions and cancers. So it may sound a little redundant, smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your heart and overall health. 

While quitting can be challenging, studies show that soon after quitting, your body begins to repair some of the damage that has been done. So it is never too late to quit. 

Drinking

Drinking can also cause unnecessary stress on your heart. Alcohol is a depressant that can literally lower your heart rate, and raise blood pressure. Excessive or long term use of alcohol (think, having just one or two every day) can also contribute to heart disease, as well as the failure of your liver, kidneys and greatly impacts how your brain is able to function and countless other effects on your body’s health. 

Stress in your lifestyle can also greatly impact your heart health. If you have a high-stress lifestyle, this can cause literal stress in the heart leading to weakening or as serious as causing or contributing to cardiac arrest and stroke. 

Diet 

Diet is definitely one of the most important factors in your heart’s overall health. What we put into our body directly affects how well it functions, and what condition it is in. 

Eating processed, fried and junk foods can have negative effects on your heart, such as putting excess stress on it, as well as plaque buildup in arteries which leads to stroke and heart attack. 

One of the biggest contributions to artery plaque is cholesterol and fat, as this mostly what it is composed of. 

Here are examples of foods that you should eat less often:

  • High in trans fat 
  • High in sugar 
  • Processed
  • Deep-Fried
  • Greasy 
  • Considered junk food
  • Considered fast food

Are generally things you want to limit in your diet, not only for the sake of your heart but for the rest of your body, your mental and emotional well being as well. 

Try To Include More Of;

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Fiber
  • Water

Exercise 

Exercise is essential to an overall happy healthy life and body. Even if you don’t exactly like the idea of working out, even a 20 minute walk a day is all you need to start reaping the benefits.

Exercising improves your overall body health and function and can lower your stress and even strengthen and improve your heart’s performance. 

Stress Management 

Don’t forget to relax! It is important to not only try and limit the stressors in our life but to actually deal with the stress itself. 

Some things you can do to reduce your stress are:

  • Exercise
  • Yoga 
  • Meditate 
  • Self Care (bath, home-spa, a real spa, etc.)
  • Having Down Time (games, reading, tv, etc.)

You don’t have to transform your life to be able to live Heart Smart. Try to make mindful choices and inclusions when it comes to these aspects of your life. Cook dinner more regularly than hitting the drive-thru, take the stairs instead of the elevator or bike instead of the bus or car, and don’t forget to relax