While having the occasional donut burger, butter-poached steak, or lobster dinner most likely won't do any permanent long-term damage to one's health, following poor eating habits will, over time, probably create some serious health problems.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to cite heart disease as the number one cause of death for Americans, beating out cancer, stroke, and diabetes. The most recent statistics, based on preliminary data, show that 595,444 deaths were attributed to heart disease in 2010. It's not much of a change from the previous year, in which there were 599,413 deaths due to heart disease in the U.S.
It remains a pretty grim picture, but for most people, there are a few simple things that can be done to help keep their ticker running in tip-top shape.
In addition to following a diet high in fiber; low in sodium, cholesterol, saturated fats, and trans fats; and heavy on fruits and vegetables, the Mayo Clinic recommends the following:
The Mayo Clinic also offers more specific advice on what people can do in their diet to prevent heart disease, since it's such a crucial factor. Cutting back on foods laden with saturated fat, including red meat, full-fat dairy products, and coconut and palm oils; eating five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day; and consuming foods that are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, mackerel, and walnuts, can all help prevent heart disease. Getting started on the right path is as easy as trying one of our recipes, since each one has been selected with these goals in mind.
Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.