You need realistic healthy heart tips to protect yourself from cardiovascular disease for decades to come. There are many simple (and effective) ways to protect your heart and prevent a heart attack or stroke from stealing you from your life and loved ones.
Heart disease is the #1 killer in the world – claiming the lives of more than 17.9 million people worldwide every year, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO). In the United States alone, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that heart disease kills 600,000 people annually.
There’s no mystery about why. The Western diet (which has been adopted by developed nations around the globe) is devastating to your heart and cardiovascular system. [It actually breaks down your entire system cell by cell but for now, we’re going to focus on your heart.]
Protecting Your Heart Relies Heavily on Your Diet
There’s a lot of confusion about “good” and “bad” foods for your heart – and the mainstream medical community isn’t helping! The foods that are professed to be “heart healthy” are heavily pushed by the food and medical industries…but many have an extremely negative impact on your hard-working heart!
It can be difficult to weed through the hype to find the truth. To simplify the “heart disease epidemic” is fairly simple: the wrong food combinations are consumed, in outrageous portions, and supplemented by over-processed and toxin-heavy “fake foods” that provide nothing of value while stripping your body of vital minerals and vitamins.
It’s worse than that. These chemical-laden foods not only strip your body of nutrients, but they also inhibit your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients from the truly healthy foods you do eat.
Every problem has a solution – including heart disease. Too many of the “treatments” used for cardiovascular disease are nothing more than fads. They muddy the waters, confuse the public at large, and years later…the medical establishment admits they might have been wrong.
Unfortunately, many lives have been ruined (or lost) in the meantime.
Healthy Heart Tip #1: A view being popular doesn’t make it right.
Do you remember the “don’t eat eggs!” hype? For two decades, the medical community pointed an accusatory finger at eggs and judged them dangerous for you. They were supposedly high in fat, raised your cholesterol, and were (in essence) a “heart attack on a plate.”
Yet, here we are with dozens of scientific studies proclaiming eggs as high in good fats, excellent for cholesterol management, and the best food to eat in the morning to help control your weight!
Instead of skipping your eggs in the morning, skip the carbohydrates instead. You’ll feel fuller for longer and have improved focus because the nutrients in eggs are not only a great part of a heart-healthy diet, they are incredible as brain food!
Healthy Heart Tip #2: If you can’t make the exact same food at home, don’t eat it.
The “trick” to eating the right foods to nourish you and fight disease is to choose unprocessed foods. Sure, it may take more time to prepare meals if you make a meal rather than heat a ready-made one in the microwave. However, that time you save zapping your cardboard container could be lost through illness later.
Plan your meals for the week, go grocery shopping, and make as much as you can ahead of time so you aren’t rushed trying to get out the door in the morning for work. Your mind and body will thank you for providing nutritious and delicious “real” food instead of going through the drive-through at the nearest fast food chain.
25 Foods You Need on Your Grocery List
- Fresh herbs – particularly oregano, thyme, and rosemary
- Red wine (in moderation)
- Salmon, tuna, and sardines
- Cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil
- Walnuts, almonds, pecans, and pistachios
- Sweet potatoes
- Oranges and grapefruit
- Beans – especially black and pinto
- Barley, oatmeal, and gluten-free whole grains (in moderation)
- Flaxseeds and chia seeds
- Cherries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries
- Green tea
- Dark chocolate (in moderation)
- Greek yogurt
- Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and Swiss chard
- Grass-fed beef
Healthy Heart Tip #3: Food labels are often a lie.
A sin of omission is still a sin. Don’t be fooled by food labels that profess they are “trans-fat-free” because food manufacturers figured out a sneaky way to get around this problem. They lowered their serving sizes. That’s right. Anything less than 0.5 mg of trans fat does not have to be listed on the label – which means you could be ingesting hundreds of grams of trans fats every year and not even know it!
A food you’ve always eaten (before you knew about trans fats) could be chock full of these little killers but you aren’t aware because they’ve cut their serving size enough to avoid telling their consumers how unhealthy their product is!
Drop the chemicals. Eliminating margarine, vegetable oil, or any other oil that says “hydrogenated” anywhere on the label is a great place to start.
Healthy Heart Tip #4: A fancy degree does not make a “good” doctor.
Don’t put up with intimidation tactics or condescension when your doctor can’t answer your questions or goes on the defensive. Too many men and women in the medical profession are cozy with pharmaceutical companies. They want to prescribe a pill for every symptom instead of figuring out the root of the problem and helping you get better.
They make you dependent on those refills because you’re a “recurring customer” who provides “residual income.” Stop footing the bill for your own illness. Take a stand in your own health and find a doctor interested in you as a patient – not their bottom line or how many perks they can get for hooking you up with the “latest, greatest thing” on the drug market.
Healthy Heart Tip #5: Research, research, research (then research some more).
It’s your body and your life on the line. Question everything you read, everything your doctor says, and do your own research. Many health problems can be prevented with good habits and common sense – like following a healthy heart diet.
Some heart-healthy habits are common sense…
- Get enough quality sleep (this is when your body repairs itself).
- Exercise regularly (even low-impact is effective if you live a sedentary lifestyle).
- Drink plenty of water (infuse it with fruit if you need to but drink it).
- Lower your stress where possible (and learn coping techniques for dealing with stress you can’t eliminate from your life).
- Eat a diverse diet of colorful whole foods and choose organic meat products when you can.
- Drop as many of the processed foods as you can manage and limit (or eliminate) refined sugars, flours, and grains. I’ve written extensively about the inflammatory nature of grains.
- Lose the habits you know are killing you (tobacco, substance abuse, and excess alcohol consumption).
In your heart, you already know what needs to be done in your own life to protect the health of your heart. There’s no reason to delay…let’s get started! You owe it to yourself.