Vegetables and fruits are rich in nutrients, low in calories and high in fiber. Diets high in vegetables and fruits meet vitamin, mineral and fiber needs without adding a lot of calories. Diets rich in vegetables and fruits have been shown to lower blood pressure and improve other cardiovascular disease risk factors.
The American Heart Association continues to recommend the following to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease:
Consume an overall healthy diet
Aim for a healthy body weight
Aim for recommended levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides
Aim for a normal blood pressure and blood glucose level
Be physically active
Avoid use of and exposure to tobacco products
Drink alcohol in moderation
A healthy diet includes:
Eating a variety of whole (fresh, frozen, or canned) vegetables and fruits
Eat more deeply colored vegetables and fruit such as spinach, carrots, peaches and berries (they tend to contain higher amounts of vitamins and minerals than others such as potatoes and corn)
Choose whole fruits over juice most often (whole fruit contains more fiber)
At least half of your grain intake should come from whole-grain foods
Reduce intake of beverages and foods with added sugars (primarily to lower total calorie intake and to get enough of the nutrients your body needs)
Recommended servings per day for a healthy person needing 2,000 calories each day includes:
6 to 8 servings of grains (at least half of the servings should be whole-grain foods)
8 to 10 servings of vegetables and fruits (about cup counts as a serving)
Cholesterol is an important part of a healthy body, however, high levels of cholesterol in the blood, is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, which leads to heart attack. Typically the body makes all the cholesterol it needs, so people do not need to consume extra to get enough.
Some of the excess dietary cholesterol is removed from the body through the liver. The American Heart Association recommends that you limit your average daily cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams. If you have heart disease, they recommend limiting your daily intake to less than 200 milligrams. Everyone should remember that by watching how much cholesterol they take in each day can help significantly lower total dietary cholesterol intake. Especially watch foods high in saturated fat.
Regular physical activity is helpful in increasing HDL cholesterol in some people. Higher HDL cholesterol is related to a lower risk of heart disease. Physical activity also helps control weight, diabetes and high blood pressure. Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for heart disease.
Tobacco smoke is among the six major risk factors of heart disease. Smoking lowers HDL cholesterol levels and increases the tendency for blood to clot.
Source: American Heart Association
Disclaimer: *This article is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any kind of a health problem. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Always consult with your health care provider about any kind of a health problem and especially before beginning any kind of an exercise routine