“You are what you eat” is something a lot of us say but a lot of us don’t actually take seriously. Not until we suffer from certain heart conditions and the doctor starts saying “you can’t eat this” and “you can’t eat that”, that we realize how diet and heart disease are related, that the food we eat is directly involved in many of the risk factors for coronary heart disease.

Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death for both men and women; obesity and overweight problems continue to grow which increases the risk of coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, type2 diabetes, and stroke. The good news is, small changes to eating and physical activity habits can make a big difference to heart health and can reduce the risk of heart disease. A combination of healthy eating and physical activity can help achieve and maintain a healthy weight plus puts your heart in a better condition.

Diet and heart disease are like a give-and-take relationship. You give in an unhealthy diet and heart disease takes that as a compliment, take away that unhealthy diet and heart disease gives you back your heart. Healthy eating is not actually ‘dieting’ and following strict rules but instead, it is on enjoyment and nourishment of the body and the heart.

A healthy diet is all about choosing mainly plant-based foods like vegetables, fruit, and legumes such as dried peas, dried beans, and lentils. Eating grain-based foods, preferably wholegrain such as bread, pasta, noodles, and rice also adds to a healthy diet and heart disease prevention. Eating a moderate amount of lean meats, fish, skinless poultry, reduced-fat dairy products, and moderate amounts of polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oils and fats makes up a great healthy diet and heart disease eradication.

Eating for a healthy heart can make a big difference to your heart and your general health. A few simple changes in your way of eating and incorporating these changes into your daily diet can be your first step to a healthy heart, here are some of the healthy eating changes you can start with:

* Vegetables should have a major part in at least one meal every day and eating fruits frequently.

* More often choose wholegrain instead of white varieties.

* Cereals and legumes should be eaten more, with small amounts of lean meat rather than basing the whole meal around the meat.

* Eat poultry without skin and use very small amounts of lean meat.

* Milk, yogurt, and cheese, choosing low-fat dairy products should be on your list

* At least twice a week, fish whether fresh or canned but not fried, should be in your diet.

* Steam, boil, bake, grill, microwave foods rather than fry.

* Lessen salt intake, drink plenty of water.

These are just some of the few things you can do to have a healthy diet, combine that with healthy physical activity and exercise, then you’re on your way to saying goodbye to heart disease and saying hello to a healthy heart.

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