There are lots of factors which can contribute to heart problems in later life: smoking, drinking alcohol, and a lack of exercise can all lead to an unhealthy heart, as can eating the wrong foods and becoming overweight. If you have been told that you might face problems with your heart later in life, or if there is a history of heart disease in your family, then it is never too early to start making changes to your lifestyle.
These changes don’t even have to cost you too much money; just make a few changes to your weekly shopping list at the grocery store and you can become heart-healthy. If you are worried that these fresher, healthier ingredients might cost you more than normal, look out for a promo code in food magazines that promote healthy living.
Fruit and Vegetables
Current advice is that everyone should try and eat at least five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables every day. This isn’t always easy to manage, but there are ways to pack extra vegetables into some of your favorite meals and snacks. Making soup at home is an easy way to eat two or three portions of vegetables in just one meal, or you can add chopped up carrots and mushrooms to pasta sauce — also a good way of getting a fussy child to eat veggies without them even knowing it. Smoothies are an excellent way of eating two or three different types of fruit and can work as a healthy and nutritious breakfast; try not to buy pre-blended smoothies from the grocery store, though, as they often have extra sugar and are not as healthy as smoothies freshly made at home.
Good Fats and Bad Fats
Your first instinct when coming up with a heart-healthy diet might be to cut out fats altogether, but that could end up doing more harm than good. After all, a lot of our energy comes from fats, and if you are planning on starting an exercise regimen then you will need the right kind of food to fuel your new active lifestyle. There are good fats and there are bad fats; while it is right to cut bad fats out of your diet, you need some of the good fats to give you the energy you need to take exercise or even just get through the day. Instead of saturated fats, you should try and eat foods which are high in mono and polyunsaturated fats, such as olive oil, cashew nuts, avocado, sunflower seeds and oily fish.
Mind Your Salt Intake
Too much salt in the diet can lead to high blood pressure, which is itself a major contributing factor in the development of heart disease. Lots of processed foods and ready meals are high in salt, so you should try and avoid those in favor of home-cooked meals; you can control your salt intake much better when you are eating meals you have cooked from scratch yourself. You can also buy low-sodium salt for your home, either to add to your cooking or to flavor meals; this is less damaging to your health while still adding a little extra to your food.
Stick to Your Alcohol Limits
Alcohol can also cause problems if you are at risk of heart disease. While you do not need to cut out alcohol altogether unless you have other health problems that would be affected by alcohol intake, you should stick well within the recommended limits. These guidelines are different for men and for women, so make sure you are aware of your limits and aim to stick well below them. After all, they are supposed to be maximum alcohol limits, not a target for your weekly consumption.
These are simple steps that you can take if you want to keep your heart healthier for longer; these are not dramatic or expensive changes, but you can easily find a promo code for certain brands of olive oil, sunflower oil or other useful products for your pantry and refrigerator if you look in food magazines or publications from your local grocery store.