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 A balanced diet is essential to maintaining a heart healthy lifestyle. Nutritional meals are vital in the prevention and treatment of heart disease. There are simple ways to prepare healthy meals without sacrificing the flavors you love. Eating nutritious meals can be challenging, but by making small daily changes to your diet, you can soon be on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

 Choosing Nutritious Foods

When working towards living a more heart healthy lifestyle, watching what you eat is essential. Here are a few guidelines that you can try to incorporate into your diet:

  • Include up to 6 ounces of lean meats per day in your diet
  • Make 5 or more servings of vegetables part of your daily diet
  • Try to limit your overage daily cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg. Too much cholesterol in a diet is a major risk factor forheart disease
  • reduce the emphasis on meats and animal foods (eggs, dairy, etc.) as part of your meals. There are many alternatives that can provide the protein you need in your diet such as nuts, seeds, and beans

It is also important to cut back on sodium, fat, and cholesterol in the foods you choose.

 Heart Healthy Cooking  

It is important to remember that often, how you prepare your meals is just as important as what foods you are preparing. If the food you are preparing calls for oil, use it sparingly. Also, choosing olive, peanut, and canola oils can lower your intake of saturated fats. The following are suggested methods of cooking to prepare your favorite foods in a healthier way:

  • Baking. Bake your vegetables, fruits, and lean meats. Baking does not require you to add fat to your foods.
  • Roasting. You can use many fat free liquids such as wine, tomato juice or lemon juice to roast your meats in.
  • Steaming. Steamking is one of the simplest cooking techniques. It is a great way to keep most of the nutrients and flavor in the foods that you are preparing.

By choosing healther cooking methods, you can maintain a more nutritious and wholesome diet, while still enjoying the flavor and the foods you love.

Maintaining a nutritious diet can lessen your risk of developing heart disease and aid in the treatment of heart disease. But benefits of a healthy diet don't stop there. In addition to reducing your heart disease risk, practicing good nutrition can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, boost your energy levels, and leave you with a greater sense of self-confidence.

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