Heart Disease is the Second Costliest Ailment for U.S. Employers

Eating Well to Improve Heart Health

In preparation for American Heart Month in February, it’s important to focus on heart health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women across the United States. Around 50% of Americans have at least three of the following risk factors: diabetes, obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity, and excessive alcohol usage. Fortunately, maintaining a healthy diet is an impactful way to reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

Creating and maintaining a healthy diet

You can improve your heart health by:

  • Managing your portions. Serving sizes matter as much as what you are consuming. To prevent overeating, experts recommend using smaller bowls or plates rather than filling up larger ones.
  • Reduce unhealthy fats. Saturated and trans fats increase cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. It’s important to understand that you can still enjoy heart-healthy fats (i.e., salmon, nuts, avocados).
  • Incorporate low-fat proteins. Your heart enjoys low-fat proteins like fish, poultry, eggs, and lean meats. Try to avoid frying or breading these meats to keep them heart-healthy.
  • Switch to whole grains. Whole grains help regulate your blood pressure. Switching to whole grains would mean you use brown rice instead of white, and you can introduce barley, quinoa, oats, and more.
  • Consume more fruits and vegetables. Most commonly, experts recommend eating more fruits and vegetables to improve your vitamin and mineral intake while reducing your need for higher-calorie foods.

While eating well is a great way to reduce your risk of developing heart disease, you can also focus on increasing your physical activity, taking your medicines as prescribed, and attending counseling if stressed frequently.