2. Enjoy more healthy fat.
You don't need to follow a low-fat diet to be healthy — but you do need to eat more healthy fats.
Clinical studies show that eating fats from seafood, virgin olive oil and nuts decreases your risk for a heart attack and stroke, without increasing weight. Enjoy fats from avocado, seeds and dark chocolate, too. These healthy fats are critical for your brain, and help reduce inflammation.
3. Pick clean, not mean protein.
When I say “mean protein,” I’m talking about the commercial fatty meats and dairy that are loaded with hormones and pesticides.
Instead, eating "clean" means enjoying wild seafood, such as grilled salmon, baked sole, and steamed shellfish. For poultry, focus on free-range, organic-fed options. And keep organic, free-range eggs on the menu as well.
Like to eat red meat? Aim for grass-fed, grass-finished, organically raised beef and pork products.
If you're in a restaurant and can’t find any clean protein options, then opt for lean, since the less fatty cuts have fewer toxins. That means chicken and turkey breast, seafood, and if you eat red meat, pork tenderloin and sirloin.
For clean protein plus fiber, add in beans, as they improve blood sugar and cholesterol profiles. That means you can enjoy tasty bean dips, great turkey chili and a lovely hummus.
4. Drink more beneficial beverages.
Start with upping your intake of pure water — at least 4 cups per day. For something with caffeine, green tea is your best bet. All unsweetened tea is great, and mint tea is lovely too. You can also still enjoy 1-3 cups of coffee per day, since in moderation it can be good for you.
And don’t forget my favorite breakfast: a fiber and protein-rich smoothie of organic cherries or blueberries, almond milk, protein powder and chia seeds. It’s delicious, takes two minutes, and revs you up for the day!
You can also enjoy a glass of wine with dinner — just be sure to limit your alcohol intake. Lastly, don’t be fooled into drinking juice, as without the fiber and pulp, fruit juice is closer to drinking soda than actually eating fruit.
5. Savor more fantastic flavors.
One thing I discovered during a chef internship at the Four Seasons restaurant is that healthy foods must taste delicious for people to actually eat them.
Spices and herbs like garlic, Italian herbs, curry spices, and hot chili spices make food taste great — plus they help block arterial plaque growth, rev up your metabolism and lower inflammation.
And don’t forget about chocolate: The fats in dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) act like olive oil in your body and it’s awesome for your heart and brain. Yes, I’m asking you to eat some form of dark chocolate every day!
The bottom line: By adding these food groups into your daily diet, you’ll nourish your heart, reduce your risk of a future heart attack and stroke, and find yourself feeling younger, trimmer, fitter, and healthier every day.