What is a Heart Healthy Diet?

The heart healthy diet. The cardiac diet. The DASH Diet. The Mediterranean Diet. The Nordic Diet.

 

Call the heart healthy diet what you want. Whatever, it’s your life.

One strong, healthy heart to power you through life’s adventures. Who doesn’t want that? Sold. Sign me up!

definition for what a heart healthy diet is and isn't

Why a Heart Healthy Diet?

My husband and I both come from families with histories of severe heart disease. I’m not just talking about high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure friends. I’m talking about the SERIOUS S***. Heart attacks. Stents. Open heart surgery. Diabetes.

You might be thinking that with a genetic predisposition like this, we might as well accept our fate and count on modern medicine to influence our future, right?

Girl. SO WRONG.

You must have dozed off and forgot I was a dietitian.

We take our nutrition game pretty seriously in this house.

But if I’m being honest folks, shouldn’t we all? Our internal health is our livelihood and the last thing we want to do is take this for granted by fueling our bodies with junk today simply for a trip to the hospital later.

With 1 in 4 Americans dying from heart disease every year, this is no joke guys. We ALL need to get our s*** together here. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. MIC DROP.

The status of your health is primarily determined by diet. Not exercise. Not supplements. Not medication. DIET.

Which means you have 3 (or 4 or 5 or 6) opportunities each and every day to impact your health simply by putting smart choices on your plate one meal at a time. Yay!

So whether you are looking to protect yourself from genetic fate, make lifestyle changes following a serious cardiac event, or simply trying to avoid general poor health in your future, a heart healthy diet is your starting line in the race toward your personal best.

The heart healthy diet is the MOST highly researched eating pattern out there – for real. And I’m here to show you just how EASY and FLEXIBLE it really is. Honest to Pete. But first, let’s clear up any confusion by talking about what a heart healthy diet IS and what it ISN’T.

 

What Is a Heart Healthy Diet?

WHAT A HEART HEALTHY DIET IS:

  • Focused on whole, minimally processed, foods
  • Plant-forward (plenty of antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruit)
  • Plentiful in protein (including fish, eggs, lean meat and poultry, lentils and beans)
  • Focused on unsaturated fats (olive oil, canola oil, avocado, nuts and seeds)
  • Loaded with whole grain fiber
  • Inclusive of low-fat and fat-free dairy
  • Limited in trans and saturated fats (fried foods, high-fat animal proteins, full-fat dairy and butter)
  • Low in sodium and added sugar

WHAT A HEART HEALTHY DIET ISN’T:

  • Fat-free
  • Dairy-free
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan
  • Gluten-free
  • Egg-free
  • Focused on supplements
  • Restrictive

 

That’s it. It’s really that simple. This isn’t rocket science folks. When you love the foods you eat, they will love you back!

 

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