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John Macoviak MD, Retired Heart Surgeon, On Heart Healthy Foods


This post was contributed by a community member.

We all know that there are certain foods to eat more of when it comes to maintaining a healthy heart. But, do we know exactly which foods we should be incorporating more of into our diet? It undoubtedly can be a challenge to change unhealthy eating habits – especially if they’re habits you’ve had for years. But, once you know which foods to reach for more often, you may find it easier to make those changes. Here are some heart-healthy foods you can feel comfortable eating and enjoy!

More fruits and veggies, of course

You can never go wrong with fruits and vegetables, however, some are better than others. Avoid any fruits in sugary juices, vegetables in creamy sauces, and frozen fruit with added sugar.
Stock up on fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, canned vegetables with low-sodium, and canned fruit in water or juice. Keep in mind that fresh is best!

Whole grains

Whole grains contain fiber and nutrients that help to regulate blood pressure. Try whole wheat pasta, bread, cereal, brown rice, barley, or buckwheat to mix it up.

Healthy fats

Healthy fats are great for the heart. You can find them in olive or coconut oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados.

Low-fat protein sources

Low-fat protein sources include chicken, low-fat dairy products, eggs, fish, legumes, soy-based products, and lean ground meats.

Low-sodium foods

Sodium can cause blood pressure to rise, straining the heart. Low-sodium foods are important to eat and as a general rule of thumb, are anything that is of the natural variety. Foods high in sodium are usually highly processed foods such as snack foods, baked goods, or frozen dinners. If you like the convenience of packaged snacks or meals, consider spending one day a week on food preparation. This not only leads to easy access to meals throughout the week, but it also makes it easier for you to maintain your healthy diet.

Try making these adjustments to your diet and see how you feel. Remember to be gentle with yourself in the beginning – changing eating habits you’ve had for years is not likely to happen overnight. Celebrate your healthy decisions and don’t beat yourself up when you slip. Instead, make it a point to get back on track when the next meal rolls around.

This article was originally published at JohnMacoviakMD.net

John Macoviak MD is a retired heart surgeon, currently residing in La Jolla, California. He has performed over 30 successful heart transplants in the Washington, DC area. To learn more about John, visit his website at JohnMacoviakMD.com.

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