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Focusing on improving your heart health or maintaining it is key to a long and happy life. However, while weight loss is important, it shouldn’t be your only focus. In fact, maintaining your heart health instead can make weight loss easier as you put less stress on yourself to hit a certain number on the scale.
Heart health is even more important to focus on today as it is the leading cause of death in America for men and women. Unfortunately, one person dies nearly every thirty-six seconds due to cardiovascular disease in the United States. Thankfully, simply choosing better foods can significantly reduce your chances and can even extend your life expectancy.
The following are four foods to swap for to improve heart health:
This is a great alternative to most sweets beyond whole fruits. Dark chocolate contains a flavonoid called flavanols with antioxidant properties that protect the heart. Research shows that dark chocolate at least sixty-five percent cocoa may lower your risk of insulin resistance and high blood pressure.
Fish or Chicken
Swap for chicken and omega-rich fish instead of indulging in red meat high in saturated fats and cholesterol. The (AIM) Archives of Internal Medicine published a study that found a connection to increased cardiovascular diseases among those who consumed a high amount of red meat. Chicken and fish offer less saturated fat that won’t raise your blood pressure, keeping your heart protected.
Refined carbohydrates such as white rice, pasta, or bread can be swapped for whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal, or buckwheat. Whole grains include high amounts of viscous fiber, B vitamins, and antioxidants that work together to protect the heart.
Use mashed avocados instead of butter, mayo, or cream sauces. Avocados are rich in healthy fats that make the texture creamy and rich, just like the favorite condiments found in many American pantries. But, again, many condiments are full of saturated fat that is known to raise blood pressure and affect your heart health.
Overall, if you want to live a long and healthy life, you must focus on your consumption. Swapping out many of your favorite foods is likely your best bet as many traditional favorite foods found in America can be high in unhealthy fats, sugars, and salt that can lead to cardiovascular disease. So take this list with you the next time you go grocery shopping to ensure you make your diet healthy and enjoyable.
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