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Heart Healthy Diet: What You Need to Know

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. While lifestyle habits such as maintaining a stable weight and regular exercise are important for heart health, what you eat is equally important. A healthy diet is one of the best weapons in your arsenal to fight heart disease and feel healthier. In fact, choosing a heart-healthy diet can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by up to 80 percent (

If you don't know where to start, you may want to make some simple changes to your diet and diet. To help you clear your head and understand the reasons for different dietary recommendations, here are a few tips

Pay attention to the types of fats you eat.

Fats are an essential part of your diet - a necessity! However, certain types of fats can have a negative impact on heart health, and trans fats and saturated fats in particular are the two types of fats that cause the most problems. Both types of fats affect blood cholesterol levels by lowering HDL (also known as the good) cholesterol and raising LDL (also known as the bad) blood cholesterol levels; if HDL or LDL cholesterol levels are outside the normal range, or if they are not If they are high in balance, they can lead to excess cholesterol in the blood vessel walls, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Foods containing saturated fats include beef, bacon, sausage, lamb, lard, cheese, and other dairy products made from whole milk or 2 percent milk.

Trans fatty acids are made from both natural and man-made sources. Fried foods and packaged goods also contain high levels of trans fats.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that adults limit their intake of saturated fats to 5 to 6 percent of total calories. Trans fat intake should be less than 1% of total calories.

Cut out the salt.

Like fat, sodium is an important mineral. Sodium is needed for many bodily functions, including fluid volume, acid-base balance, and signaling of muscle function. However, too much sodium can be dangerous. High levels of sodium increase water retention in the blood vessels, which can lead to high blood pressure. If left untreated for a long time, high blood pressure can put a great deal of strain on the heart, contributing to plaque formation and ultimately increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Sodium is a delicate component, so reducing it requires a little more effort and attention. A good starting point when trying to reduce sodium is to look at the product's nutrition label. Companies are required by law to list the amount of sodium and other ingredients in their products. As mentioned above, sodium can be secretly added to foods in large quantities without your knowledge.

Sodium likes to be hidden in the food and dishes ordered at restaurants. In fact, over 75% of our sodium intake comes directly from processed foods and restaurant meals (yuck!) . So, to reduce your sodium intake when eating out or ordering at restaurants, don't ask for extra salt on your plate.

This advice may seem harsh, but it can significantly reduce your sodium intake and make your heart happy. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, which is about the size of a teaspoon of salt (the recommendation for people with chronic diseases and those over 50 is even lower, at 1,500 milligrams)! By applying these tips, you can not only meet this recommendation, but also reduce your risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, and kidney disease.