Food, food, food – it seems to be everywhere. We need to eat it to live but we don’t have to live to eat. There are many reasons why we eat in excess. The food tastes good. We are stressed. We are eating mindlessly. All contribute to a higher weight and a higher fat content in our diet than we need.
In an ideal world, your heart would be working fine. Your vessels would be unclogged and strong. Your food would provide the right amount of nutrients to keep the organs functioning, oxygen needs met for various functions and your body burning fat stores for energy.
Unfortunately it is not an ideal world, but you can work to create an ideal environment inside your body. It all starts with the food. Many of the nutrients we need come from food, including fat. The choices of food we make determine what kind of nutrients we allow to enter our bodies.
You are what you eat, literally. Change what you put into your body and you will not only change the way you look but how your insides function. Here are some choices for delicious tasting foods that have less fat.
Protein is needed for muscle growth and repair of cells as well as bones, skin, hair and many other systems. We get protein mostly from red meat but there are other healthier sources of protein:
- Skinless poultry
- Green vegetables
These are only a few. Soybeans provide a plant source for protein that has healthier fats without the saturated fat component that is found in red meat, pork and chicken.
These are the fuel source of your body. Carbohydrates are turned into sugars for fuel or fat for storage to be used later as fuel. Carbohydrates are of two categories according to the glycemic index. Carbohydrates that place higher than 50 on the index spike blood sugar and lead to you consuming more empty calories to gain more energy. Fewer than 50 and your blood sugar will stay steady, reducing cravings and overeating.
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat products (pasta, breads, cereals)
Processed foods are made from white processed flour. These empty calories provide too much unhealthy fat. That fat raises the levels of LDL which can increase blood pressure and the incidence of cholesterol plaques that can lead to heart disease and heart attacks.
The body does need some fat, but healthy ones like oils and nuts:
- Olive oil
- Flax oil
There are many more but you get the idea. Mono and polyunsaturated fats are the best choices.
What’s your food pantry like? If you don’t have any of the foods mentioned above, you may want to revamp things a little in favor of a healthier heart and body overall.
Hope you are enjoying the Healthy Heart Series.
Return to the Table of Contents for the Healthy Heart Series