For people aiming to improve heart health, dietary changes can be a little overwhelming. It sounds a lot easier than it is to swap one style of eating for another. If you’ve been eating a certain way for your entire life, merely adopting a Mediterranean-style diet or DASH diet is not going to be easy. But that doesn’t mean you can’t adopt a healthier diet to lower the risk of heart disease. Here are a few quick food shifts you can make to help accommodate a heart-healthy diet.
Shift from white bread to whole grain bread or wraps. Cutting the refined carbs for fiber-rich whole grains is one of the most straightforward steps to take for a more heart-healthy diet.
Shift from basing meals around red meat and try including fish a couple of times per week. Having a “Meatless Monday” is also a good idea, allowing you to go a full day with antioxidant and fiber-rich plant-based foods.
Shifting from using butter to olive oil for cooking is also an easy move. Olive oil contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that can help reduce cholesterol and inflammation. Using olive oil for salad dressing instead of creamy or sugary dressings is also a smart shift you can make.
Selecting unsalted products or low-sodium options can also take some pressure off your heart. For snacks, purchase roasted, unsalted nuts and buy low-sodium soups.
Shifting from snacks like chips or microwave popcorn to air-popped popcorn with seasoning is another simple way to make heart-healthy food choices. Air-popped popcorn is low calorie, high fiber, and very filling. On the other hand, microwave popcorn and chips can feature saturated and trans fats and be very hard to stop eating once started.
Having a hankering for pizza at dinner? Instead of pepperoni, go for vegetable—or fruit (pineapple)—toppings. You can also elect a cauliflower crust, or at least whole grain thin crusts to eliminate the refined carbs.
These are just some of the ways you can implement a more heart-healthy diet. It’s often easier to make little substitutions here and there as opposed to making wholesale changes in one fell swoop.
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