10 Healthy Eating Habits For A Heart-Healthy Diet

Most people know that a healthy diet with optimum protein, rich in fruits and vegetables and an adequate intake of water provides numerous health benefits to the body. But the challenge is incorporating healthy eating habits into your daily routine without getting overwhelmed. 


The key is to take small yet significant steps to make your regular diet healthier. The choices you make each day will have a big impact on your overall health and well-being. Here are 10 excellent healthy eating tips that will ensure your body gets all the nutrients it needs to function in the most efficient manner. 


1. Have breakfast daily

Breakfast is called the king of all meals for a reason. If you think skipping breakfast will help you lose weight, think again. After waking up from your overnight sleep, the body has not received any nutrition for 6-8 hours. Breakfast replenishes the store of nutrients and energy in the body. 


A healthy breakfast high in minerals and fibre but low in sugar, fat and salt can kickstart your metabolism and helps you get through the day. When you skip breakfast, you tend to overeat in the next meal due to hunger pangs. 

2. Eat more fruits and vegetables

Vegetables and fruits are also synonymous with foods good for the heart. An excellent way to ensure you get your daily portion of vegetables and fruits is to eat them at the beginning of the meal. Starting your meal with a salad helps you fill up on fibre and reduces hunger. ICMR recommends consuming 300g of vegetables and about 100g of fresh fruits a day.  Fruits form an important food component of your diet. Fruits are rich in water, fibre, vitamins and antioxidants. The natural sugar found in fruits is digested slowly due to the presence of fibre, reducing major spikes in blood sugar levels. Consume at least 1 fruit (100g) a day.  Consuming fruit juices (even 100%) is not a healthy replacement for fruits as they are devoid of fibre. 

3. Choose the right oil for cooking 

Saturated and trans fat can increase the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood. It is usually found in foods such as red meat, hard cheese, ghee, butter, cakes, lard and pies. Trans fats are generated in many bakery products which use partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Consume foods that are sources of healthy fatty acids, MUFA: PUFAs like nuts, seeds, and fatty fish. For a healthier choice, cook your food in cooking oils that contain a good balance of MUFAs and PUFAs.


Switching to heart-healthy cooking oil is an excellent way to manage your saturated fat intake. To maintain normal cholesterol levels, you can try cooking with Saffola Gold, a blended edible oil containing  oryzanol. Its dual-seed technology provides a good balance of MUFA and PUFA. To know more about how to choose the right healthy oil for Indian cooking, click here.

4. Include more fish in your diet

Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and trout are rich sources of good healthy fats.  Oily fish contains Omega 3 fatty acids, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that aid various body functions.  


Aim to eat at least two portions (about 300g) of fish per week, including one piece of oily fish. 

5. Drink enough water

Drinking water before meals can offer several benefits for our health. Firstly, it promotes hydration, which is essential for maintaining good health. Moreover, drinking water before meals can help us feel fuller and reduce our calorie intake during the meal, promoting weight maintenance. It is recommended to consume 8 glasses of water a day.  

6. Include more whole grains and millets in your diet

Make your diet healthier by choosing whole grains such as whole wheat flour, oats, quinoa, buckwheat, and brown rice over refined starchy carbohydrates. They are a good source of fibre and help you feel full for longer. Studies show that whole grains are also associated with health benefits owing to their fibrous properties. Millets are other beneficial foods that can be included. Jowar, bajra, and ragi provide healthy nutrients that contribute to your overall health. 

7. Reduce your intake of salt 

According to NIN-ICMR, Dietary Guidelines for Indians, salt intake should not exceed more than 6 grams of salt per day. Sodium is an essential nutrient, however, the upper limit for consumption is 2000 mg/day. Consuming too much salt and sodium can put you at risk of developing high blood pressure which may lead to heart disease subsequently.  Be mindful of your processed foods consumption and the sodium in them on a per-serve basis. It is also important to be mindful of the salt you add while cooking food. 

8. Eating well also means eating right

Mindful eating is an important aspect of your healthy eating journey. The pace at which you eat can determine if you are likely to gain weight. Studies say hormones signal your brain when your stomach is full, but it takes 20 minutes for your brain to get that signal. 


That is why you should eat slowly and put your fork down a couple of times between meals. You should also resist the temptation to overeat. Chewing your food thoroughly is also linked to better digestion and improved weight management. 


9. Eat on smaller plates 

Studies  reveal that the size of dinnerware can affect how much we eat. Eating from small plates makes your portion look large, giving you a feeling of satiety. Eating from a smaller plate can trick your brain into thinking that you are eating more. This way, you will avoid over-eating or taking multiple helpings.  

Developing healthy eating habits takes time and consistent effort. That is why it is helpful to incorporate small changes each day to make healthy eating a lifestyle. While some of these tips talk about portioning your food correctly, some talk about adding essential nutrients to your heart-healthy diet plan. However, all these tips will significantly impact keeping your heart healthy and your overall diet healthier.

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