Want to eat healthily? Find out what the most recent guidelines for heart healthy meals are according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
At the end of 2021, the AHA published an updated scientific statement regarding their dietary guidance to improve cardiovascular health. Dr. Alice H. Lichtenstein, chair of the group responsible for writing the document, explains the goals of this statement as follows:
“The purpose of the statement is to:
- Emphasize the importance of dietary patterns beyond individual foods or nutrients.
- Underscore the critical role of initiating heart-healthy dietary habits early in life.
- Present common features of dietary patterns that promote cardiometabolic health.
- Discuss additional benefits of heart-healthy dietary patterns beyond cardiovascular health.
- Highlight structural challenges that impede the adoption of heart-healthy dietary patterns.”
Eating Heart-Healthy Food
“We can all benefit from a heart-healthy dietary pattern, regardless of stage of life, and it is possible to design one that is consistent with personal preferences, lifestyles, and cultural customs,” explains Lichtenstein. “It does not need to be complicated, time-consuming, expensive, or unappealing. You can absolutely adapt a heart-healthy diet to different lifestyles, including one that incorporates eating out at restaurants.”
Lichtenstein also explains that the recommendations in their new guidelines aim to help people adopt healthy dietary patterns. “Food-based dietary pattern guidance is designed to achieve nutrient adequacy, support heart health and general well-being, and encompass personal preferences, ethnic and religious practices, and life stages,” notes Lichtenstein.
According to the AHA’s new statement, there is a strong association between poor diet quality and elevated risk of cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality. In their statement, the AHA emphasizes 10 points regarding evidence-based dietary pattern guidance that can help promote cardiometabolic health. They recommend people do the following:
- Adjust energy intake and expenditure to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
- Eat plenty and a variety of fruits and vegetables.
- Choose whole-grain foods and products.
- Choose healthy sources of protein (mostly plants; regular intake of fish and seafood; low-fat or fat-free dairy products; and if meat or poultry is desired, choose lean cuts and unprocessed forms).
- Use liquid plant oils rather than tropical oils and partially hydrogenated fats.
- Choose minimally processed foods instead of ultra-processed foods.
- Minimize the intake of beverages and foods with added sugars.
- Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt.
- If you do not drink alcohol, do not start; if you choose to drink alcohol, limit intake.
- Adhere to this guidance regardless of where food is prepared or consumed.
Improving Heart Health
When it comes to improving heart health through diet, there are challenges involved. However, it can be possible to overcome these by creating an environment that makes it easier to follow healthy dietary patterns. For instance, if you plan your meals ahead of time, it will be easier to eat healthily since you won’t have to buy fast food to quench your hunger.
In addition to eating healthier, you can boost your heart health by taking supplements like L-arginine Plus. Its ingredients promote circulation, blood pressure, cholesterol, and more. If you’re ready to give your health the support it deserves, then start eating healthily and take L-arginine Plus.