You can prevent heart disease by following a heart healthy diet and lifestyle. However, many individuals spend little time on prevention and then must scramble to "fix the problem" once diagnosed. It's much easier to take preventive action than it is to reverse a disease after the fact.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Australian nutritionist Cyndi O'Meara. She's had international and national success with her two books Changing Habits Changing Lives and its Companion Cookbook. She's taken the time to share four actions you can implement today to care for your body and prevent heart disease.
FOUR RULES OF THUMB FOR TAKING CARE OF YOUR BODY
Rule 1: "Always eat food as close to its original source as possible."
A fresh apple is better than dried apple. Rolled oats are better than oat bran or oat flakes. A hamburger made by you is better than a fast food hamburger. Fresh, ground coffee is far superior to instant coffee. Butter is better than margarine as butter is made from cream but margarine is a chemical concoction.
Look at the foods you eat and decide how far down the processing chain they have gone and decide whether you want to continue to put less than healthy fuel into your high performance body.
Rule 2: "Consume foods that will spoil but eat them before they spoil."
So many foods are preserved, boiled to death, irradiated, genetically modified, cured and the like; these foods are OK to have occasionally, although some I try not to buy or consume. Make sure that most of the time the food you are eating is fresh and free of artificial flavorings, additives and preservatives. For example; eat fresh meat rather than salami and other cured meats.
Rule 3: "Every day your diet should consist of 30% fresh fruit, 35% fresh vegetables, 15% fresh protein (meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds legumes) and 20% high quality starch homemade breads, fresh pasta, whole grains)."
By sticking to this very general rule you will keep a balance of fats, carbohydrates and proteins without having to weigh food or count calories. Make any other foods you eat, condiments, including - most dairy, sugars, coffee, tea, snacks and the like. The following is a diet which sticks to these principles.
Breakfast: Porridge with fruit or home made bread toasted, and freshly squeezed fruit juice
Morning Tea: Fresh fruit with 10 freshly cracked nuts
Lunch: Salad sandwich with a couple of glasses of filtered water
Mid-afternoon: Healthy crackers with avocado slices
Dinner: Meat of your choice with a salad and 2 vegetables
As you can see, it's not a hard diet to follow, but there is one more rule of thumb that I must insist on at this point:
Rule 4: "Eat 80% healthy and 20% cheat just a little."
In this social world it is hard to have the perfect diet. So for those times when you really just want a chocolate bar or you'd like to go out to dinner without having to think about what you are eating, stay with the 80/20 balance and be at ease.