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Impacted by a recent natural disaster? We have resources to help. Learn more. Even small changes to your cooking can help you reduce your risk for heart disease. Foods like packaged store bought snacks, sweets, baked goods, fried foods, red meat and processed meats like bacon and sausage are high in saturated fat that raises your bad cholesterol. Fresh vegetables, whole grains, and fruit are low in fat and high in vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber that can reduce your risk of heart disease. Nuts, avocados, and plant-based oils like olive, peanut and safflower oils to name a few provide you with healthy fats. When cooking, pay attention to the amount of oils and butter you add to lower the total calories to help with weight management.
People with diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes, are two to four times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than people without the condition, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. In fact, cardiovascular disease — which includes heart disease, heart failure and stroke — is the main cause of death for people with type 2 diabetes. That’s why following a heart-healthy meal plan is one of the most important ways to manage both of these conditions. Healthy food choices not only help control blood sugar, but also help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, making for a much healthier heart. You’re going to want to incorporate smart food choices for both diabetes and heart health in your diet. According to the American Heart Association AHA, that includes controlling your total carb intake and choosing complex carbs such as whole-grain breads over refined carbs such as white bread, sodas and candy. You should also eat plenty of fruits and vegetables; lean proteins like poultry, tofu and fish; and heart-healthy fats found in nuts, seeds, avocados, low-fat dairy and olive oil. Fiber helps with blood sugar control and reduces the risk of heart disease, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Although this meal plan involves reducing overall fat intake, Karner advises patients to continue to “include heart-healthy fats like the omega-3 fatty acids in fish” because omega-3s are known to promote heart health, according to the Mayo Clinic. In addition to salmon, fish such as mackerel, herring and sardines are especially high in omega-3s, as are chia and flax seeds and walnuts.