According to cardiologists, these food swaps can help keep your heart healthy

Everyday Habits , With Significant Health Benefits.1. Cook a meal, A 2014 study by Cambridge University found that people who cook at home consume about 140 fewer calories per meal.2. Drink coffee, Coffee boosts metabolism and is low in calories (as long as you drink it black).3. Set aside time for your hobbies, Doing things you enjoy will help to fight food urges driven by boredom.4. Wake up early, According to a 'PLOS One' study, being exposed to morning light is associated with leaner body weights.5. Go for a walk, A 'JAMA Internal Medicine' study found that overweight people lost body fat when they walked or ran 12 miles a week over eight months.6. Post pictures of your meals on social media, This will keep you accountable, encourage colorful, fresh food for a good picture and be more satisfying if you prepare it yourself

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide for both men and women. Poor heart health can also impact the lungs and arteries, as well as contributing to depression, anxiety and lower sex drive. So it’s important to take care of your heart.

Risk factors for heart disease include age, sex, family history, smoking, diet, weight, stress and dental health.

While you can’t help where you were born or what you were born with, cardiologist say something as simple as making some food swaps can help get you to a healthier heart.

Swap cheese with healthier fats

While cheese is a great source of protein, it’s also very high in fat and a prime source for saturated fats. In fact, one serving of cheese is half of your recommended daily intake for fats. Saturated fats raise your LDL levels — the type of cholesterol that increases heart disease and stroke risks.

For protein, consider eating more nuts or avocados instead. If you’re craving that cheesy experience, try substituting reduced fat cheeses, vegan cheeses or nutritional yeast. Parmesan cheese is another great option, as it’s lower in saturated fats, but high in calcium.

Swap red meat with healthier meats and plant-based foods

A 2020 study confirmed what we’ve suspected for decades: Red meat is clearly linked to higher incidences of heart disease. Red meat is a prime source for saturated fats. Instead, eat more poultry and salmon — which is also high in healthy omega-3s.

Better yet, reduce overall meat consumption by eating more plant-based substitutes and adding things like mushrooms to your diet.

A note of warning: When adding plant-based options to your diet, keep an eye on your soy intake. Many plant-based foods contains a lot of soy, which can cause digestive issues and may alter thyroid function for individuals who are iodine deficient.

Swap sugary treats with natural sweets

It’s natural to want to satisfy your sweet tooth, but it can be tamed with a little training. When it comes to swapping out sweets, aim for foods that have natural and not proceed sugars. Fresh fruit, dark chocolate and granola are all great choices.

The easiest way to avoid extra sugars is by cutting out sodas. One 12-oz. can of soda contains an entire day’s worth of the American Heart Association’s recommended limit of 100-50 calories from added sugar. Try switching to fruit juice or sparkling sodas.

Swap white for wheat

While white grains and proceed carbohydrates are certainly satisfying, they offer a lot of carbs and very little nutritional value.

“Instead of having the super white fluffy bread, maybe have the dark brown thinner bread that’s made with just whole grain wheat, yeast and salt,” Dr. Andrew Freeman, director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health in Denver, told TODAY.

Slow and steady wins the race

Remember: You don’t have to make radical changes to your diet or to make all these swaps at once. In fact, radical changes have been shown to lead to failure when it comes to adopting new habits. But small changes can add up over time and lead to a healthier heart.

“It’s always best to make small incremental changes over time because it helps you to maintain them,” Dr. Jayne Morgan, a cardiologist and executive director of health and community education at Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta, told TODAY.