AHA Recommendations to Make Your Diet More Heart Healthy

Heart Healthy DietThe American Heart Association (AHA) has released evidence-based updated healthy heart diet guidelines to help us all to make better choices for our wellbeing.  The recommendations are focused on the right general patterns instead of focusing on any specific food. The AHA published these recommendations in the Circulation journal.

What Does the AHA Recommend for a Heart Healthy Diet

The new AHA heart healthy diet guidelines bring together a number of different strategies that promote cardiometabolic and cardiac wellness. The report on the recommendations says that the new strategy supersedes the scientific diet and lifestyle tips statement that the AHA released back in 2006.

The new report indicated that a low-quality diet has a strong connection with the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The reason the AHA released the guidelines is to provide people with an improved awareness of the difference heart healthy dietary habits can make, particularly early in life, but realistically any time in life.  It also aims to help people to overcome the challenges that would otherwise hold them back from adopting healthy dietary habits.

What Has the AHA Recommended?

Among the healthy diet habits that the AHA has recommended includes the following:

  • Aim for a healthy body weight by adjusting the balance of calorie intake and expenditure. This involves being aware of how much you are eating with respect to the amount of energy you are burning in the same day.
  • Focus on a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and eat plenty of them.
  • Select foods made primarily with whole grains over refined grains, such as whole grain wheat, oats and barley.
  • Consume plant-based proteins such as lentils, beans, chickpeas and split peas.
  • Opt for liquid plant oils instead of tropical oils, such as olive oil, canola oil and corn oil.
  • Avoid the consumption of highly processed foods, very fatty foods and deep-fried foods.
  • Limit the consumption of foods and beverages with added sugars. Skip sugary drinks, soft drinks, and juice.
  • Prepare foods with a small amount of salt or none at all.
  • Don’t start drinking alcohol if you haven’t already. If you already do, avoid it. Limit your intake as much as possible.

A Heart Healthy Diet Isn’t Extreme

The AHA’s recommendation for a heart healthy diet are about your overall habits and not about one or two things that you can do in the hopes of changing everything.  These are habits that you can start at any time in your life and that you can keep up over time.  The longer you maintain these recommendations, the better for your overall wellness.


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