Eating a Balanced Diet Supports Your Heart Health

Eating a Balanced Diet Supports Your Heart Health

The new updated dietary guidelines from the American Heart Association focus more on your overall eating habits rather than a list of no-no’s. Taking in sufficient nutrients will support your heart health and general well-being over your lifetime. Research on dietary patterns have found 14% to 28% lower cardiovascular disease mortality among U.S. adults with high compared with low adherence to high-quality dietary patterns.

One of the most powerful steps you can take to improve your health, boost energy levels, and prevent chronic diseases is to move towards a whole foods/unprocessed plant centered diet. We should strive for a daily food intake full of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds while limiting intake of fish and seafood, lean meat and poultry and dairy. By focusing more on a plant centered diet, you can prevent, control or even reversed many chronic disease. Scientific research highlighted in the landmark book The China Study shows that a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer, and other major illnesses. Many people also report bigger fitness payoffs, more energy, reduced inflammation, and better health outcomes both short and long term.

Maya Kommineni, M.D., MPH, a cardiologist with Northwest Medical Group, appreciates the message of balance in the new AHA guidelines. “Maintaining a healthy health and balanced diet in addition to adopting a daily exercise plan will have the biggest impact on your heart health”, said Dr. Kommineni.

Beginning with our mother’s diet before we’re born, the food and drinks we take in from infancy through adulthood build in impact on our health over time. Helping your child develop healthy eating habits early gives them a strong foundation. Prevention of pediatric obesity is key to preserving and prolonging ideal cardiovascular health.

Focus on making every calorie you take in bring value. Adjust how much you consume based on your level of activity, reduce portions and calories if you are less active.

Simple changes can add up. Eat a piece of fresh fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth rather than drinking packaged, processed juice with added sugars. Look for whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat or oats in addition to legumes and lentils to bulk up meals while adding excellent sources of protein and fiber and helping to create a health gut microbiome.

“Use a whole food, plant centered diet as your most powerful medicine rather than pharmaceuticals being a band-aide,” according to Dr. Kommineni. “Make it a habit to eat nutritious foods at every meal, whether at home or dining out and move your body daily to avoid cardiovascular disease. As Hippocrates states, ‘Let thy food be thy medicine’.”

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