One in every three Americans is affected with heart and blood vessel diseases. As our nation’s leading cause of death, cardiovascular disease can be caused by a genetic predisposition, obesity, high stress levels or another health condition. Regardless of cardiovascular disease’s prevalence and origin, it can be mitigated by intentionally substituting heart healthy lifestyle choices over potentially damaging ones.
Sometimes, having a grasp on a task’s specific details can make all the difference in actually accomplishing it. This application is universal, whether attempting to study for an exam, start a business, develop a sound financial plan or make healthy lifestyle changes. When it comes to the latter, most of us know that living healthfully will reduce the risk of heart disease and its consequences. However, knowing where to start making such positive changes can seem overwhelming. By providing six specific details of what substitutions can point you towards a stronger heart, healthy lifestyle choices will no longer sound like an ambiguous, unconquerable task.
- Substitute an after-dinner walk for watching the evening news – After a satisfying meal, resist going into a food coma. Being sedentary after eating does not facilitate digestion and watching the news causes many people unrealized, heart-burdening stress. Instead, going for a walk burns calories, assists blood circulation, facilitates digestion and can relieve stress – a perfect recipe for improving heart health.
- Substitute 100 percent whole grain bread for white bread – A diet high in whole-grain foods is associated with a significantly lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke. Make sure to check bread’s ingredients for caramel color, because some companies add this to make bread look brown – giving the illusion of health. In the United States and Canada, only bread labeled with “whole wheat” truly uses whole wheat flour in their processing. Other wheat bread may simply use a combination of white refined flour and whole wheat flour. Make sure to look for “100 percent whole grain” on your bread’s label.
- Substitute wild salmon for steak – When deciding which protein will star in tonight’s dinner, choose a heart healthy piece of wild salmon. While steak is loaded in saturated fat that can clog arteries, wild salmon has a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, which protect against cardiovascular disease and reduce inflammation inside your arteries.
- Substitute sodium-free spices for salt – Although most cooking shows insist on liberally seasoning most food with salt, they don’t have a vested interest in your heart health. Because salt increases blood pressure and dramatically raises the risk of cardiovascular disease, it should be limited. However, food can take on enormous flavor without the use of salt or soy sauce. Whether you like garlic, pepper, curry, chili, paprika, rosemary, vinegar or a sodium-free seasoning blend, give your heart a break by losing the salt. As a bonus, most sodium-free spices contain some kind of heart health benefit.
- Substitute a steamer for a deep fryer – Increasing the role of vegetables in your diet is a good move for your health, but how your vegetables are prepared has a dramatic impact on your heart. Because of the artery clogging fat clinging to a fried morsel, dropping vegetables in a deep fryer practically negates produce’s healthfulness. However, steaming your veggies adds no fat and retains much of their heart healthy compounds.
- Substitute a comedy flick for worrying about your health – While aiming to improve your health is chock full of benefits, obsessing or worrying about an ailment just adds to your stress level. Choosing an activity that makes you laugh (like watching a comedy), will facilitate a release of stress-relieving endorphins. Because endorphin release lowers blood pressure, your entire cardiovascular system will profit.
Help reduce the statistic that maintains cardiovascular disease as a leading health concern. While dietary changes are monumental in reversing this trend, heart healthy lifestyle choices extend far beyond what we eat. With these six, specific examples that prioritize cardiovascular health, anyone can begin making lifestyle changes that his or her heart will love.