Which foods fit a heart healthy diet

 

In February we go red to make sure we know heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women. 

On that note, if you're looking to eat a heart healthy diet, do you know what that means?

A new survey says Americans are really confused about what it means to eat a heart-healthy diet. 

Survey results show that Americans are more likely to consider a low-fat diet as best for their hearts but cardiologist, Dr. Steve Nissen, says that's not true anymore.

"It turns out that evidence has gradually accumulated over a long period of time that ultra-low fat diets or low fat diets are not particularly heart healthy and don't seem to help with obesity," Nissen said.

The Cleveland Clinic survey shows about half of americans have tried a diet in the past year to potentially improve heart health. 

However, the diet with the most heart-healthy evidence behind it, the mediterranean diet, was only tried by 5 percent of those surveyed.

The mediterranean diet is heavy on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish. It is not considered low-fat and contains a lot of good, healthy fats like olive oil. 

"There are things in olive oil that do promote heart health," Nissen said. "And in fact, may even reduce the risk of developing diabetes."

Nearly half of survey respondents either have heart disease or have a family member with it and of those, 68 percent say their personal experience was enough to promote a diet change.

In addition, one-third of people said that convenient options like fast food and vending machines negatively impact their diets. 

"People don't think about their heart health when they plan their day," Nissen said. "We are in a society where men and women, majority of them are working every day, under a lot of stress, they don't have time to cook healthy meals and it's very easy to stop at a fast food restaurant."

The survey also shows that Americans realize the importance of healthy eating, but that it's hard for people to part with certain things.

Carbs top the list overall, while women also struggle with chocolate and men have a hard time cutting out red meat.

On Friday, Feb. 6, it is national Wear Red Day. Wear your red and raise awareness.  

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