Before you indulge in that hearty meal, stop. Take a moment to listen to your body. Are you eating a healthy, balanced meal? Is your heart happy with your choice of food or is it adding to the risk of building cholesterol in your bloodstream? If you have not really given it a thought, there is still time to stop and reconsider before it is too late.
Cholesterol is a waxy fatty substance which is essential for the normal functioning of the body. However, when you eat cholesterol-rich food, the body does not get rid of it, instead, it is deposited in the bloodstream causing blockages. High cholesterol, in turn, raises the risk for heart attacks and strokes that could be life-threatening. According to a recent study, nearly two million people die of a heart attack in India. A statistic that can be reduced if you pay a little attention to your diet and your level of activity.
What are the key ingredients to include in a heart-healthy diet?
Try and include a lot of vegetables and plant-based food to your diet. Vegetables, pulses, fruits, nuts, and soya is good for your heart and helps lower cholesterol levels.
Swap red meat for lean meat, poultry, white and oily fish. Unlike red meat that is rich in saturated fats, these come packed with protein, nutrients, and energy.
Omega -3 fatty acids, monosaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats are good for your heart. However, life is too short to opt for a boring diet. Think of meat as a side dish instead of the main course. Bake, steam or grill foods. These simple changes can do wonders to your health, your palate and your mood.
Soluble fiber helps in moderately lowering the LDL cholesterol levels. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes are your friends on this journey.
Sugar is not good for you. Swap fizzy drinks with fresh fruit juices. Cakes and savories come loaded with calories and are low in nutrients. Swap those for a healthy snack.
Herbs and spices come packed with vitamins, rich in minerals and antioxidants, be sure to include them in your cooking. Garlic, turmeric, mint, cinnamon, and ginger helps lower the bad cholesterol levels.
All said and done, changes to the diet will make a lot of difference. However, you have to change your lifestyle too to get the desired results and continue doing it.