4 Heart Healthy Diet Tips To Lose Weight

By on October 24, 2011

Heart Healthy Diet TipsImprove your health and lose weight at the same time by following these 4 amazing heart healthy diet tips.

Fill Up On Fiber

Soluble fiber can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and higher fiber diets produce fewer triglycerides (TG – fat in blood), in addition fiber helps control weight and blood sugar.

  • Aim for 17-30 total grams fiber daily; 7-13 grams from soluble fiber.
  • Start your day with whole grains, e.g. oatmeal; ready-to-eat cereal made with oat bran, barley or psillium; look for at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.
  • Enjoy fresh fruit with breakfast and as in between meal snacks, e.g. small pear, 1 cup black berries, 4 whole prunes.
  • Replace refined grains (white bread & pasta) with whole grains like 100% whole rye or whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta and brown rice.
  • Eat your colors. Have at least 2 servings of veggies at lunch & dinner. Add okra to soup or stew; mix diced yellow bell pepper to pasta sauce; enjoy a handful of carrot sticks with a sandwich.
  • Love legumes. Enjoy high fiber beans or legumes or least twice per week. At your next meal try replacing meat or poultry with 1/2 cup of beans.

Enjoy Heart Healthy Fats… in Moderation

Fatty fish like salmon in addition to walnuts and flax seed contain omega-3-fatty acids, which can lower bad cholesterol & TG; nuts like almonds and plant oils like olive oil contain monounsaturated fat which, also help lower bad cholesterol.

  • Enjoy 3-4 oz fish (salmon) at least 2 times per week
  • You may substitute 3 tbsp flaxseed for 3-4 oz of fatty fish. Try adding 1 tbsp of ground flaxseed to oatmeal
  • Enjoy 1 oz unsalted nuts 4-5 times per week, e.g. 22 almonds; 4 walnut halves
  • Replace bad fats (saturated fats) like butter, stick margarine and vegetable shortening with plant oils like canola & olive (avoid frying) and vegetable oil based spreads like Smart Balance

Limit Sodium & Control Blood Pressure

High blood pressure usually precedes diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease; it also makes these conditions worse.

  • Limit sodium intake to 2300 mg per day = to 1 teaspoon of salt; limit to 2000 mg if you have a history of heart disease. Start by getting rid of the salt shaker!
  • Limit main meals to less than 600 mg sodium & snacks to less than 140 mg sodium
  • Replace salt with low and sodium-free seasoning like Mrs. Dash, herbs & spices
  • At restaurants avoid high sodium condiments/sauces & make sure food isn’t salted

Maintain a Healthy Body Weight

Waist circumference is associated with excess abdominal fat, which is a predictor of disease risk and morbidity. Men, aim for waist circumference less than 40 inches; women less than 35.

  • Exercise regularly, it promotes good (HDL) cholesterol & lowers elevated TG! Engage in at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity weekly (30 minutes, 5 times per week or 40 minutes, 4 times per week)
  • Reduce excess calories from high sugar/fat foods (sweets, fried foods)
  • Consume alcohol in moderation; Women: 1 drink per day; Men: 2 drinks per day