- Eat heart-healthy nuts. Nutrition research finds that people who regularly eat nuts are less likely to have heart attacks or die from heart disease than those who rarely eat them. One reason may be the unsaturated fats they contain help lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. Nuts also contain omega-3 fatty acids that may prevent blood clots. Other nutrients in nuts help relax constricted blood vessels and ease blood flow.
- If your triglyceride level is high, cut back on high-glycemic foods. Reducing high-glycemic-index carbohydrates such as white potatoes, sugar and refined grains (white pasta and bread) should help lower triglyceride levels. Increasing monounsaturated fats such as olive oil may help too.
- Get your recommended fiber. Most women should get at least 20 grams of fiber a day and men should aim for at least 30 grams. You can achieve 30 grams of fiber each day by eating the following:
- Three servings of vegetables (1 cup of raw or ½ cup of cooked vegetables)
- Three servings of fruit (one whole, medium-size fruit or ½ cup fruit)
- Two servings of whole-grain foods (½ cup cooked grain, pasta or cereal or one slice whole-grain bread)
- One serving of beans (½ cup cooked lentils or beans)
- Don’t just focus on cutting fat. When trying to lose weight, the main goal should be on balancing two things: reducing the amount of calories you consume and increasing the amount of calories you burn through physical activity. It would be a mistake to focus only on fat reduction. For good health and long-term weight control, include unsaturated fats while limiting saturated fats and avoiding trans fat.
- Include Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients needed for normal bodily functions. These fatty acids cannot be made in the body and must be consumed through food. They play key roles in blood-clotting and building cell membranes in the brain, and they protect against heart disease and inflammatory disorders. There are two types of omega-3 fatty acids: ALA – found in soybean and canola oil, flaxseed and walnuts; and EPA/DHA – found in fatty fish, such as salmon.