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Heart-healthy nutrition: How to choose the right foods for a healthy heart

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Prehrana za zdravje srca: Kako izbrati prava živila za zdravo srce

Heart health is crucial for a long and quality life. Proper nutrition plays an important role in maintaining a healthy heart and preventing cardiovascular disease. Choosing the right foods can help lower cholesterol, regulate blood pressure and maintain a healthy weight.

Include healthy fats

Not all fats are the same, some are good for the heart, while others can be harmful. Healthy fats, such as unsaturated fats, can help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Olive oil: Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which help lower LDL cholesterol and increase good cholesterol (HDL). Use it for salad dressings, cooking and baking.

Avocado: Avocado is an excellent source of healthy fats and fiber. Add it to salads, smoothies or use it as a spread on bread.

Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds and flax seeds are rich in unsaturated fats, protein and fiber. Enjoy them as a snack or as an addition to various dishes.

Eat more fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are key components of a heart-healthy diet. They contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber that help maintain a healthy heart and lower blood pressure.

Berries
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are full of antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and improve heart health. Enjoy them fresh, frozen or in smoothies.

Leafy vegetables
Spinach, kale, arugula and broccoli are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre. Add them to salads, soups or prepare them as a side dish.

Citrus
Oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits are high in vitamin C and other antioxidants that help improve heart health. Enjoy them fresh or as juices with no added sugar.

Choose whole grain products

Whole grains are better for the heart than processed carbohydrates because they contain more fiber, vitamins and minerals. Eating whole grains can help lower cholesterol levels and improve digestion.

Whole grain bread and pasta
Replace white bread and pasta with whole grain versions that contain more fiber and nutrients.

Oats
Oatmeal is rich in beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that helps lower LDL cholesterol levels. Enjoy them for breakfast with the addition of fruit and nuts.

Brown rice and quinoa
Instead of white rice, choose brown rice or quinoa, which are more nutritious and contain more fiber and protein.

Limit salt and sugar intake

Excessive consumption of salt and sugar can increase the risk of high blood pressure, obesity and cardiovascular disease. It is important to limit your intake of these ingredients and choose healthier alternatives.

Reduce salt intake
Instead of salt, use herbs and spices to improve the taste of the dish. Be aware of hidden salt in processed foods and choose products with a low salt content.

Limit sugar
Avoid sugary drinks, sweets and pastries. Instead, choose naturally sweet alternatives such as fruit or smaller amounts of honey and maple syrup.

Check the labels
Check nutrition labels on products and avoid those that are high in salt and sugar.

Include protein from healthy sources

Protein is important for maintaining muscle mass and overall health, but it’s important to choose healthy sources of protein that are good for the heart.

Lean meat
Choose lean meats such as chicken, turkey and fish over fatty red meat. Fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Legumes
Beans, lentils, chickpeas and other legumes are an excellent source of vegetable protein, fiber and other nutrients. Use them in soups, salads and main dishes.

Tofu and tempeh
Tofu and tempeh are rich in protein and are excellent plant-based alternatives to meat. Add them to dishes such as salads, baked rice or stir-fry.

A healthy diet is key to maintaining a healthy heart and preventing cardiovascular disease. By including healthy fats, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, limiting salt and sugar, and choosing healthy sources of protein, you can improve your heart health. Proper nutrition combined with regular physical activity and a healthy lifestyle will contribute to a long and healthy life.

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