A Baby Boomer’s Guide to Eating for a Healthy Heart

broken heart

No part of your body affects your overall health more than your heart. Once your heart health has been compromised everything associated with staying healthy becomes substantially more difficult. Exercise is very important for maintaining a healthy heart, but watching what you eat is far more important.

If you have a family history of heart problems, you can count on having heart problems of your own if you do not take proactive steps to avoid them. Most men assume that eating a healthy diet means making substantial sacrifices. This does not need to be so at all. Yes, you can make major changes in your diet and potentially eliminate almost any risk of coronary artery problems altogether, but the fact is that making just a few small changes in your diet is enough to get almost all the health benefits associated with a better diet. Here are just a few smarter food choices that can make all the difference in the world when it comes to having a healthy heart.

Replace most of your snacks with fruit and vegetables

This one change alone may be enough for some men. Fruits and vegetables provide many nutrients which act almost like medication to help prevent heart problems. Replacing high fat and high sugar snacks with whole fruits and vegetables will help control weight and blood sugar levels and also directly help prevent clogged arteries. As an added benefit fruits and vegetables have been shown to help to prevent cancer.

I am not just making this up. Here is what the American Heart Association has to say.

Keep it colorful. Challenge yourself to try fruits and vegetables of different colors. Make it a red/green/orange day (apple, lettuce, carrot), or see if you can consume a rainbow of fruits and vegetables during the week.

Add it on. Add fruit and vegetables to foods you love. Try adding frozen peas to mac’n’cheese, veggies on top of pizza and slices of fruit on top of breakfast cereals or low-fat ice cream.

Mix them up. Add fruits and vegetables to food that’s cooked or baked, or mix vegetables in with pasta sauces, lasagnas, casseroles, soups and omelets. Mixing fresh or frozen berries into pancakes, waffles or muffins is another great way to make fruits and veggies a part of every meal.Nutrition – At Least 4.5 Cups of Fruits and Vegetables a Day (spot)

Roast away. Try roasting vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, onions, carrots, tomatoes or eggplant. Long exposure to high heat will cause these foods to caramelize, which enhances their natural sweetness and reduces bitterness. Read More

Eat whole grains instead of highly processed grains

When choosing bread, always look for the words “whole grain” in front of the product description and in the ingredient list. Whole grains metabolize more slowly and don’t turn into sugar quickly in your bloodstream. In addition, adding steel cut oatmeal to your diet has been shown to directly lower cholesterol levels.

There is a boatload of research to back this up. Here is some info from Doctors Health Press.

Well—the final word is in on whole grains and health, and it’s all good news. Researchers from New South Wales just reviewed some massive studies that were completed over the last few years. In all, 11 major clinical trials established the link between whole grain cereal consumption and substantially lower risks of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and hypertension.

These reduced risks have led the researchers to establish some clear guidelines around the ideal amount of whole grains that should be consumed, the nature of whole grains, and the potential mechanisms for the effect of whole grains on health. Read More

Eat low-fat meats, poultry and fish

Simple changes in the meats you select can lead to a healthier heart. You don’t have to give up meat, but choosing lower fat cuts of meat when possible can make a world of difference in your heart health profile. The most effective change you can make in this area is simply to start eating more fish. Fish is not only lower in fat, but also contains omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids which improve heart health.

Use less fat when cooking

Limiting the amount of saturated and trans fats you eat is one of the most direct methods to improve heart health and also to help control mens weight. This can reduce your blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease. There are many excellent substitutes on the market today that will replace butter, margarine and other fats when cooking.  You can also choose healthy alternatives such as using salsa or low-fat yogurt for baked potato toppings or a low-sugar whole fruit spreads on your morning toast instead of butter or margarine. Only a small amount of creativity is needed to improve the taste and variety of your food without adding extra fat.

This is not new info. Here is an article from 2001 in Medical Food News.

Increases blood insulin levels in humans in response to glucose load
Affects immune response
Decreases the response of the red blood cell to insulin
Inhibits the function of membrane-related enzymes
Causes alterations in physiological properties of biological membranes
Causes alterations in adipose cell size, cell number, lipid class, and fatty acid composition Read More

A healthy diet is the most direct route to a healthy heart for boomers. Making the simple changes listed above can help make sure you have a healthy heart and a longer healthier life.

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Stay Healthy
Arnold Brod, Publisher

Photo Source – katerha

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