You can reduce your risk of coronary disease just by eating certain foods. Weight control and regular exercise are critical for keeping your heart in shape — but the food you eat also matters. In addition to exercise, being careful about what you eat, can help lower cholesterol, control blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and maintain a healthy weight.
- Limiting saturated fats and cutting out trans fats is important. Both types of fat raise your LDL, or “bad” cholesterol level, which can increase your risk for heart attack and stroke.
- Eat at least six servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Going from less than three servings a day to more than five can lower your risk of heart disease by 17%.
- Unhealthy cholesterol levels increase your risk for heart disease, so keeping yours low is the key to a healthier heart. Your diet is central to controlling your cholesterol.
- Consuming salt can contribute to high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The recommended amount is no more than about a teaspoon of salt a day for an adult.
- A diet high in fibre can lower cholesterol and provide nutrients that can help protect against heart disease. Choose high fibre foods, starting with a bowl of cereal for breakfast that contains at least three grams of fibre. Every 10 grams of dietary fibre added to your daily diet can reduce your risk of heart disease by 27%.
- Achieving a healthy body weight is a major factor in reducing your risk of heart disease. Reducing portion sizes is a crucial step toward losing or maintaining a healthy weight.