Our heart is at the center of it all- literally! The heart is the most important organ of the body because it works 24 hours a day to pump blood and deliver oxygen and nutrients to the rest of the body. It’s a machine that works constantly without rest!
Due to the heart’s never-ending responsibilities and workload, sometimes if it’s not properly looked after and protected, serious health problems can start to arise, such as high blood pressure, high bad LDL cholesterol, or even heart attacks that can lead to death.
You may be wondering what kind of routines or habits you need to follow in order to protect and manage your heart health, and that’s exactly what we want to share with you in this article! Both a heart healthy diet and certain lifestyle behaviors are key ways to keeping our hearts in good shape. Keep reading if you want to learn more!
Limit Saturated Fats
One of the main disadvantages of eating high amounts of saturated fats found in butter, ghee, biscuits, fatty meats, and certain cheeses is that it is believed to increase LDL bad cholesterol levels leading to cardiovascular disease.
Low density lipoprotein, or LDL bad cholesterol is a type of protein that transports fat molecules all around the body and it makes up most of our body’s cholesterol. When LDL cholesterol levels are increased in the body, plaque around the arteries can start to form, causing them to get blocked. This blockage in the arteries can lead to heart attack or even strokes.
The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting saturated fats to less than 10% of daily total calories. Here’s a few effective ways to help you cut back on saturated fats:
- Substitute your cooking oil with healthier fats, such as olive oil or avocado oil
- Trim any visible fat off meat and poultry before cooking it
- Try to eat leaner cuts of beef or pork
Pure Plates offers many healthy food options, including meals with low-saturated fats to protect and maintain your heart health. We recommend checking out their delicious mini herb chicken salad if you’re looking for a savory snack. This salad contains only 1g of saturated fat!
Eat more fruits and vegetables
You probably have heard this enough times to know that eating fruits and vegetables are great for you in many ways! In addition to their multitude of benefits, consumption certain fruits and vegetables is shown to have protective effects against coronary heart disease.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber that help fight against heart disease. Fiber in particular is shown to lower LDL bad cholesterol levels in the body and help to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, which is the plaque buildup in the arteries.
Unfortunately, it’s becoming more recognized that Americans don’t get enough fiber in their diet The recommended daily allowance for fiber in men and women is 38g/day and 25g/day.
Some fiber-rich fruits and vegetables to include in your diet are:
- Avocados (both a healthy fat and fiber-rich!)
- Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach or kale
Make sure to check out Pure Plate’s meal plan services for a nourishing yet delicious menu containing a variety of nutrient-dense foods, including different fiber-rich food options!
Reduce your sodium (salt) intake
Sodium is an essential nutrient that our bodies need to function properly. However, too much of anything can cause more harm than good. One of the main functions of sodium in the body is to help regulate our body’s fluid balance. When sodium is consumed in excess, water gets pulled into our blood vessels, causing the blood pressure to increase.
It’s been estimated that Americans eat an average of 3,400mg of sodium per day, whereas the recommended dietary intake amount for sodium set by the dietary guidelines for Americans is 2,300mg per day. This equals to about 1 teaspoon of salt per day!
Some effective ways to reduce sodium intake are:
- Read the nutrition labels carefully and scan for sodium amounts per serving
- Go for reduced-salt options when buying groceries
- Cook with less salt!
- Go easy on condiments- You’d be surprised with how much sodium they contain!
- Add fresh herbs and spices to your dishes to cultivate flavor instead of adding salt
Get daily movement in
Our hearts love it when we’re physically active! One of the vital steps toward good heart health is being physically active. Whether it was simple walking or jogging, to more vigorous exercises, such as sprinting or weight-lifting, these are all great and recommended ways to strengthen and preserve the heart muscle.
It’s recommended that we get 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week of moderate physical activity to maintain or improve heart health! Exercise, in combination with healthy eating with Pure Plates, can certainly help you to reduce risk of heart disease.
The bottom line is
The heart is the most important muscle in our body and we need to be mindful of the fact that it restlessly works 24 hours a day to keep us alive! Getting in the habit of limiting saturated fats, eating more fruits and vegetables, reducing sodium intake, and getting daily exercise are all extremely important tools to maintaining good heart health and reducing the risk for cardiovascular complications!
Let Pure Plates help you to take away confusion around healthy eating by supplying you with the meals and snacks to meet your nutritional needs!