Eating a balanced diet is one of the most important factors you should consider to protect your health. It can help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke by improving your cholesterol levels and blood pressure, as well as managing your weight and blood sugar. Being physically active and eating a healthy diet can help prevent premature heart disease and stroke. It’s recommended that you eat a variety of healthy foods each day.

Vegetables and Fruit

Fruits and vegetables are full of nutrients that can help lower your risk of developing these conditions. They also contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Half of your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables at every meal.

Whole Grain Foods

You can choose whole grain products such as crackers, bread, and wild rice. These are all prepared using the entire grain, which is important since they contain protein, vitamins, and fiber. You can also choose to eat refined or processed grains instead. For instance, white bread and pasta are less beneficial for your health than bread and pasta made with whole grains. One quarter of your plate should be filled with whole grain products.

Protein Foods

You should also eat protein foods such as nuts, seeds, tofu, and various types of fish, poultry, and eggs. They are full of nutrients that help build and maintain healthy skin and bones. Some other types of protein that you can include low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. It’s recommended that you eat at least two meals a week that contain fish.

Limit Highly and Ultra-Processed Foods

Ultra-processed and highly-processed food products are those that have been altered from their original source and are filled with various added ingredients. They can also contain high levels of salt and sugar. Some of these include processed meats, hot dogs, and frozen pizza.

Although some processed food products are harmful, some are still okay to eat. These are products that are relatively unchanged but still contain minimal industrially-added ingredients. Some examples are cheese, eggs, frozen vegetables, brown rice, dried herbs, and flour. We are not referring to these products when we advise against eating processed ones.

A study conducted by the Heart & Stroke Foundation revealed that almost half of diets are composed of ultra-processed food products.

Drink More Water

One of the most critical factors that you can consider to protect yourself from heart disease and stroke is eating a healthy diet is drinking water. This can help promote hydration and prevent you from gaining weight. Unfortunately, many energy drinks and fruit drinks have a lot of sugar and are not very nutritious. Even though 100% fruit juice is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, it should not be consumed as an alternative to fruits. Although it has some of the same nutrients as the fruit, it has more sugar and less fiber. When safe drinking water is not available, try coffee, tea, or unsweetened lower-fat milk. These beverages contain an adequate amount of water to help quench your thirst.