When it comes to heart health, prevention is your best bet. If you are looking for a way to kick start your heart-healthy lifestyle, look at your diet.

The food you eat has an impact on your heart and unhealthy eating, coupled with a sedentary lifestyle can damage your health.
Cut down on your fat intake

To prevent or reduce heart ailments, you need to choose the right types of fats and eat less fat in general. Our diet comprises a large amount of fat in general, regardless of the source. So cutting down on the fat and oil intake can be a good first step. Avoid fats that elevate cholesterol levels: saturated fats and trans fatty acids, which are present in bakery products, high-fat meats, fried food and dairy products like cream. Use healthier oils like olive oil,groundnut oil gingili oil soyabean oil or rice bran oil.

Reduce your salt intake
Excess salt in your diet can cause blood pressure elevation, which increases the development of heart problems. Reduce your daily salt intake to not more than 6 gms a day. You can cut off your excess salt intake by using less salt for cooking, avoiding table salt while eating; cutting down on processed and canned foods and avoiding crackers and snacks, which are high in salt.

Eat more fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are low in calories, high in fibre and are power packed with vitamins and minerals. The fibre and antioxidant properties of various fruits and vegetables helps in the prevention of heart diseases. Make sure to consume fresh fruits and vegetables at least 5 times a day. Eating fresh produce can keep you full for a longer period and may prevent you from eating unhealthy snacks.

Eat whole grains
Whole grains are a good source of fibre, minerals and vitamins, which help regulate blood pressure and keeps your heart healthy. Further processing of whole grains gives you refined flour that is devoid of the fibre and vitamins. Refined products, due to less fibre, are absorbed quickly into our body; thus making them a source of high carbs. You can consume grains like millets what your grandparents ate. Avoid maida in any form.
Consume fish twice a week
Fatty fish like salmon, tuna and sardines mackerel pamphred are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which prevent against heart diseases. The vegetarian sources of omega – 3 fatty acids are flax seeds, rapeseed oil or walnuts.
Limit your sugar intake
Sugar provides easily digestible and readily absorbable carbohydrates. A lot of people do not know that sugar plays just as much of a role in heart disease as fats. Excess sugar is converted into fat and is stored in the body. Eating more than what is required can cause weight gain, elevated blood pressure and contribute as a risk factors for diabetes. Not more than 6-8 tbsp of table sugar should be consumed in a day. : Control your portions
How much you eat is just as important as what you eat. Keep a check on the quantity that you eat. Use smaller plates, cups and serving spoons. Do not put excess food on your plate and refrain from second helpings. While eating out at restaurants, do not order for more than what is required and stop when you are full. Avoid storing super sized food packages at home.
Eating healthy
Reaching out for a heart-healthy diet plan is the key. Eat fresh vegetables and fruits, avoid refined bakery products, say no to fried and junk foods and eating heart-healthy foods will help you win the battle against heart diseases.
Consume these secret super foods
Foods that have antioxidant properties reduce inflammation, “bad” cholesterol and increase the “good” cholesterol, keep your blood pressure in the desirable range and boost your immunity. Foods like garlic, onions, cruciferous vegetables, berries, oranges, flax seed, and nuts are vital for a healthy heart. 5 colors of vegetables and fruits are good for overall health.

Choose low-fat proteins
Eating protein is a healthy start. But many good quality protein sources are also high in fat content. Wisely eliminate or choose options that are high in protein but considerably low in fat. Do not use the yolk while making an egg preparation. Opt for chicken and fish and cut down on meat, beef and pork, use leaner cuts that trim down the fat. Use methods like grilling, baking and barbecuing rather than frying

Reduce eating out

Say no to processed food
Processed foods are high in calories, high in fats, have easily digestible carbohydrates, do not give satiety, are low in fibre and possess an array of health hazards. Cut down on consumption of ready to eat, ready to cook, instant foods. Reduce your intake of packaged snacks and say no to processed foods.

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