Heart-healthy diet: 8 ways to prevent heart disease

Restrain yourself when eating

What you eat and how much counts. If you always eat until you're full, you'll consume too many calories. Restaurant portions are excessive.

Eat more veggies and fruits

Vegetables nourish. Low-calorie, high-fiber produce. Fruits and vegetables prevent heart disease. Fruits and vegetables reduce meat, cheese, and snacks.

Eat more whole grains

Whole grains' fiber and minerals lower blood pressure and heart disease. A heart-healthy diet can easily increase whole grain intake by replacing refined grains. Try quinoa, barley, or farro.

Limit bad fats

Limiting saturated and trans fats reduces cholesterol and coronary heart disease risk. High cholesterol can cause atherosclerosis, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Low-fat protein sources

Protein is greatest from lean meat, poultry, fish, low-fat dairy, and eggs. Choose skinless chicken breasts over fried chicken patties and skim milk over full milk.

Limit or reduce salt

Salt raises blood pressure, risking heart disease. Healthy diets lower salt. AHA advises: Healthy people get 2,300 mg of sodium per teaspoon. Most persons need 1,500 mg sodium daily.

Plan ahead: Menu-plan daily

Use these six methods to plan daily meals. Choose veggies, fruits, and healthy grains for meals and snacks. Choose lean protein, healthy fats, and low-sodium foods. Watch your portions and vary your menu.

Treat yourself sometimes

Enjoy sometimes. Candy and chips won't destroy your heart-healthy diet. It shouldn't ruin your diet. Rare overindulgence achieves long-term equilibrium. Eat healthily often.

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