3 Nutritional Habits That Can Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
You have heard it before – heart disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the U.S. Approximately one in every four adult deaths are the result of some form of heart disease, bringing the total to more than 610,000 annually. For those of us in the field of medicine, the most distressing aspect of this is the knowledge that so many of these deaths are preventable by simply adjusting one’s nutritional habits.
It is absolutely true that we are what we eat. Our bodies were designed to work in very specific ways, but they can only do so if they get the right kinds of nutrients. When those nutrients are lacking, the inevitable result is sickness and disease. Heart disease is especially prevalent because virtually everything we eat eventually makes it to the heart via the bloodstream.
There is no way to eliminate all risk of heart disease completely. But we can reduce our risks by adopting sound nutritional habits. Here are just three that any of us can implement rather easily:
1. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
We hear nutritional experts say all the time that we need to eat more fruits and vegetables. At the risk of being redundant, we want to repeat that principle. Fruits and vegetables contain almost all of the minerals and vitamins we need for healthy living. Eating a wide variety goes a long way toward preventing heart disease by supplying the body with essential fuel that powers the immune system, the body’s repair systems, and more.
2. Eat a More Balanced Diet
We Americans have a bad habit of taking things to extremes. This is certainly true in the arena of nutrition. How many fad diets have we seen encouraging people to cut out entire sections of the recognized food groups in favor of concentrating on just one or two? Such diets may help some people temporarily lose weight, but they are not good for overall health.
Our bodies need a full range of foods in order to maintain good health. So rather than depriving yourself of one type of food and gorging on another, it’s better to develop a diet that offers the right volume of vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, good fats, and so on. A balanced diet significantly reduces the risk of heart disease.
3. Practice Healthy Portion Control
The key to maintaining a healthy weight is portion control. When we eat too much, all of the extra calories our bodies do not need for normal operation are stored as fat. Unfortunately, storing too much fat leads to weight gain which, in turn, can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and a whole host of additional maladies.
Figure out what is an appropriate calorie count for your height and weight and then learn to practice portion control in order to keep your calories in that range. Yes, it does take some effort to master your calories. But once you are familiar with your calorie limit and what certain foods offer, you will be
able to accurately measure appropriate portions on sight.
What we eat, and how much of it we consume, plays a big role in how healthy we are. Just by adopting a few changes to our nutritional habits, we can promote better health and reduce the risk of heart disease. Is that not better than constantly fighting against bad health and its uncomfortable consequences? Absolutely.