Heart healthy tips can be quite simple!

1. Use olive oil to prepare your meals.

Olive oil contains monounsaturated fat, which helps reduce LDL cholesterol. To receive the highest level of antioxidant benefits, select "extra-virgin" and "virgin" oils, the least processed forms. When you see the term "light" on labels, it indicates a reduced olive flavor.

Simple ways to use more olive oil:

  1. Sauté your vegetables.
  2. Replace some of the fat in baked goods.
  3. Use an olive oil based salad dressing.
  4. Flavor bread by dipping in olive oil.

2. If you drink alcohol, choose red wine. . .in moderation.

Studies show a link between red wine and decreased risk of heart disease. Red wine may reduce blood clotting in a way similar to the effects of aspirin. Red wine also contains antioxidants. A diet high in antioxidants leads to a decreased oxidation of LDL cholesterol and less plaque formation in your arteries.

If you already drink wine, continuing to do so in moderation (less than 4 ounces of wine per day) may be beneficial. If you do not currently consume wine, I do not recommend you start. Too much wine will counteract your good intentions and lead to additional complications, such as increased blood pressure.

3. Avoid Trans Fatty Acids

Trans fats raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and lower HDL (good) cholesterol. Consuming trans fats increases your heart disease risk. Daily trans fat intake should be less than 1% of your total calorie intake.

Sources - chips, cookies, crackers, vegetable shortening, commercial baked goods, French fries, fried chicken, doughnuts, pastries, pie crusts, biscuits, pizza dough, and stick margarine.

Look at the Nutrition Fact Panel on products. If you see the words "partially hydrogenated vegetable oils" in the ingredient list, then the product contains trans fats. As of January 2006, companies are required to list trans fat content on the nutrition fact panel.

There a many steps you can take to promote heart health. Take it one step at a time and you will see results!

Author's Bio: 

Sign up for the free e-course How to Lower Cholesterol in 8 Simple Steps provided by dietitian Lisa Nelson at http://lowercholesterolwithlisa.com.