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Dr. David L. Brown, Medical City Dallas Hospital, explains how simple lifestyle changes can have an impact your heart health.
If you're worried about heart disease, one of the most important things you can do today is to start eating a heart-healthy diet. A balanced diet that is low in saturated fat and trans fat and high in monounsaturated fat, omega-3 fatty acids, fruits, vegetables and whole grains will protect your heart by:
- Lowering "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and blood pressure levels,
- Limiting inflammation of the arteries,
- Warding off diabetes, and
- Helping you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
If you've already experienced a heart problem, chances are you've heard about a heart-healthy diet before. But it's not enough to know what to do. You have to make changes and that's not easy. It may seem overwhelming at first.
SecondsCount.org can help. These pages offer practical tools, tips, and support to show you how to eat a healthy diet. While you don't need to change everything about your diet all at once, the more you take these nutrition recommendations to heart, the better off your heart will be.
Above all, don't forget eating is fun. So, make heart-healthy eating fun for the whole family, too. It'll make you want to continue eating this way every day of your longer, healthier life.
Try these tips:
- Once a day, sit down at the table together to eat a meal.
- Once a week, take a recipe your family loves and modify it to make it healthier. It may take more than one try, but eventually you will tweak it just right so the whole family loves the healthy version. If you prefer not to cook, try healthier restaurant options.
- Once a month, take turns planning a healthy theme meal, based on types of cuisine or holidays, such as Italian night or Mardi Gras night. Research new recipes together online, make them heart-healthy if they're not already, and even shop together for the ingredients. Consider inviting friends and forming teams to make it a cook-off challenge to prepare the best-tasting, heart-healthiest item on the menu.