When people think of a diet, they often think of restriction or never eating some of their favorite foods again.
But what if this doesn’t need to be the reality? It is possible to have a healthy diet for the heart…without the diet!
If you are looking for a healthy diet for the heart but do not want to avoid all your favorite foods forever, keep reading!
What is a diet?
According to Merriam Webster, a diet can have a couple different meanings. On one hand, a diet is “food and drink regularly provided and consumed.” On the other hand, it is described as “a measure of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight.”
With that in mind, everyone is on a diet of some kind. We all need food and nourishment in some form in order to survive and function.
However studies have shown that diets in terms of restriction do not work. When focusing on weight loss as the outcome, about 90-97% of people who had lost weight, will regain it within 2-5 years.
When looking at how to follow a healthy diet for the heart, we must identify the “diet” as the food and drink that we regularly consume. Focus on the foods and behaviors to emphasize in your diet. Do not focus on what to avoid or restrict.
3 Keys to follow to improve your heart health
- Eat more fiber. Fiber is frequently associated with digestive health, however fiber also plays a huge role in heart health. The American Heart Association recommends 25-30 grams of fiber per day which can help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Add potassium rich foods. Potassium is found in foods such as tomatoes, potatoes, bananas, beans, or avocados. Adding potassium rich foods can be part of a healthy diet for the heart because it helps to lower blood pressure levels.
- Add healthy fats. Some types of fats can be healthy for your heart. Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and can help to lower unhealthy cholesterol levels (LDL cholesterol). Some heart healthy fats include olive oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil.
Diets that focus on restriction do not work no matter what the desired outcome is. Instead of focusing on dieting or avoiding specific foods, focus on what to incorporate into your meals and snacks without labeling foods as “good” or “bad”.
When you improve your relationship with food and incorporate heart healthy choices, you can see an improvement in your heart health.
If you want some ideas to start your day out with a heart smart breakfast, be sure to check out this article.
Or if you want to work together be sure to check out my 1:1 coaching program so you can learn to have a healthy relationship with food and improve your heart health.