If you suffer from hypertension, heart failure, or any kind of heart disease, planning a healthy routine in all aspects of your daily life can be critical to overall fitness and happiness.
For many of us, this includes establishing a new and reasonably strenuous schedule of cardiovascular exercise. For others, it involves setting and sticking to a healthier diet designed by you, your doctor, and a nutritionist. Others may find it means reducing or eliminating unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking.
One of the last items people tend to consider is their snacking habits.
Even for those who actively try to eat healthy, snacking habits tend to fall by the wayside. But if you're trying to maintain or restore heart health, revamping your snacking style can be integral to the process.
Take a look at these suggestions for heart-healthy snack foods and start restocking your pantry today.
1. Cut out the soda
Eliminate sodas, energy drinks, and other high-sugar and carbonated beverages by switching over to more heart-friendly options. If you're looking for something to sip on during the daytime, the American Heart Association recommends fat-free milk or unsweetened juices. Tomato, carrot, and mixed vegetable juices can also be a wonderful addition to any meal or a great way to tide you over when you're hungry between meals. Of course, drinking plenty of water is also important for your health.
2. Tackle your sweet tooth in savvy ways
One of the biggest obstacles to overcome when adjusting your diet for better heart health is cutting back on the sugary snacks you've come to love. That said, there are a plethora of natural, healthy options that can provide you with wonderful flavors while not harming your health.
For example, according to ABC News, raisins may produce a drop in systolic blood pressure in people with hypertension. Also, raw fruit and low-fat yogurt can be healthy snacks. And why not put them together? Frozen fruit and plain yogurt can make delicious smoothies that are packed with vitamins but lack the processed sugar and saturated fat that a typical milkshake or smoothie might contain.
3. Keep snacks on hand for the home and office
The home and the office are two places where we're typically in a hurry. Whether you're trying to meet a deadline at work or tending to the needs of a family, it may seem like there isn't time to prepare a healthy snack. Eliminate that problem by keeping carrot sticks, celery, low-fat cheese, and fruit nearby. Next time you're hungry and in a rush, reach for one of these quick options.