Many degenerative diseases of the modern world are caused by poor diet and lack of exercise. Many can be cured – or at least greatly improved – by life-style changes. Cardiovascular disease is one which responds very well to a healthy diet. The American Heart Association, The Mayo Clinic, The US Department of Health and Human Services and WebMD have their own guidelines, but they all agree on a few basics.
1. Weight control.
This is key to controlling high blood pressure which is one of the major pre-cursors of heart attacks. Whatever other changes you make, introduce portion control. Use a smaller plate, skip the seconds. When eating out, ask for a box up front and put half your meal into for lunch tomorrow.
2. Eat more vegetables and fruits
Not only do vegetables and fruits contain lots of vitamins and minerals, they are also low in calories and high in fiber. Both these qualities can help you cut down on high-fat foods. Many plants contain substances such as beta-carotene and lycopene which may help prevent heart disease.
3. Select whole grains
Processed wheat and corn contain little nutrition other than calories. Whole grains, on the other hand, are good sources of fiber and other nutrients which help to regulateblood pressure and heart health.
4. Limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol
Some fat or oil is essential to a healthy diet, but it must be the right kind. Olive oil is perfect. Avoid all trans fats.
5. Choose low-fat protein sources such as lean meat, poultry, fish and reduced fat dairy products.
6. Reduce the sodium in your food to no more than 1,500 mg of sodium a day.
7. Plan your menus a week at a time and make your shopping list from the plan. That way you will get the nutrition you need and not be tempted by empty calorie snacks. An occasional treat is permitted.