A healthy diet and lifestyle are key to preventing and managing cardiovascular disease. It’s not as hard as you may think! Remember, it’s the overall pattern of your choices that counts. Make the simple steps mentioned below a part of your life for long-term benefits to your health and your heart.
Following these nutritional strategies can help you reduce, or even eliminate, some risk factors, such as reducing total and LDL cholesterol; lowering blood pressure, blood sugars, and triglycerides, and reducing body weight. While most dietary plans tell you what you can’t eat, the most powerful nutrition strategies help you focus on what you can and should eat. In fact, research has shown that adding certain foods to your diet is just as important as cutting back on others.
The Mediterranean diet is a diet inspired by the eating habits of people who live near the Mediterranean Sea. When initially formulated in the 1960s, it drew on the cuisines of Greece, Turkey, Italy, and Spain. In decades since, it has also incorporated other Mediterranean cuisines, such as those in the Levant and North Africa.
The principal aspects of this diet include proportionally high consumption of olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits, and vegetables, moderate to high consumption of fish, moderate consumption of dairy products (mostly cheese and yogurt), moderate wine consumption, and low consumption of non-fish meat products.
The Mediterranean diet is low in saturated fat with high amounts of monounsaturated fat and dietary fiber. One possible factor is the potential health effects of olive oil in the Mediterranean diet. Olive oil has been studied as a potential health factor for reducing all-cause mortality and the risk of chronic diseases. It contains monounsaturated fats, most notably oleic acid, which is under clinical research for its potential health benefits.
TLC stands for therapeutic lifestyle changes, a diet that was created by the National Institutes of Health. This diet is one of the few diet plans that is consistently ranked as one of the best diets by health experts around the globe. It’s designed to help promote better heart health and reduce cholesterol levels by coupling healthy eating patterns with lifestyle modifications and strategies for weight control.
The TLC diet encourages you to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or nonfat dairy, fish, skinless poultry, and limited amounts of other lean meat. In particular, it involves switching up the types of fat you eat and increasing your intake of health-promoting compounds like soluble fiber and plant sterols that can help lower cholesterol levels. It also pairs dietary changes with increased physical activity to aid weight control and strengthen the heart muscle.
A healthy diet along with exercise improves blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart health. Engaging in aerobic exercise or even a brisk walk for at least 30 minutes most days of the week, in addition to maintaining an active lifestyle, can have considerable heart-health benefits. Regardless of the exercise regimen you choose, check with your physician before starting one.