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A Healthy Diet: Little Steps Can Help Your Heart

Friday, August 13, 2010

Trying to eat well is one common concern among many people. It can be daunting to even consider how to go about losing weight or changing your habits. Familiarizing yourself with "health food" is the best way to get over the intimidation and begin helping your heart and body.

If nothing else you should remember this: natural foods are the best for you. Fresh foods are extremely healthful, and even options like unprocessed canned vegetables or fresh-frozen ones can be good. To keep your heart in good shape, a steady diet of fruits and vegetables is key. Apples and oranges are good for you, of course, but consider trying some tasty tropical fruits for a little variety. According to some research, papaya and blueberries are two of the 25 most heart-healthy foods. Acorn squash has B-complex and C vitamins, and spinach is very healthful. In fact, baked squash served with sauteed spinach can make a great dish. Even if you’re a meat eater, vegetarian cooking websites can be a great source for new and interesting recipes for fruits and vegetables.

Now you're probably wondering where's the beef. Many people believe meat and fish are a no-no with a healthy diet. There are plenty of healthy protein choices for you to eat and enjoy. Be sure to look for omega-3 fatty acids. These are good fats that are abundant in fish like salmon and tuna. For good fats, consider black or kidney beans. Walnuts and almonds also have good fats in the form of plant omega-3's. Beans, fatty fish, nuts and whole grains are all important to a healthy diet because they add vital heart-protective phytonutrients.

Also, a key to a healthy diet is to treat yourself. That's sweet music to many people's ears. Treats like dark chocolate and red wine are actually good for you. Both have flavonoids, which can improve good cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Eating "bad" is generally okay as long as you don't eat them often and enjoy in moderation. Allowing yourself to eat foods you enjoy helps you not to feel as if you're punishing yourself.

Having a healthy diet is a life choice rather than some meal plan or harsh regimen. Heart health begins with eating a healthy diet, but exercise and finding time to enjoy yourself are just as meaningful.

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