5 Tips for Heart-Healthy Eating
A healthy diet and lifestyle are your best weapons in the fight against heart disease. If you are worried about your heart health or you have been diagnosed with a modifiable risk factor such as high blood pressure or diabetes, changing your diet can offer the same long-term health benefits as exercising and controlling your weight. In fact, experts say that eating a heart-healthy diet can reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke by 80%.
Dietary Choices That Benefit Your Heart
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. A well-balanced diet should include at least five portions a day. Try to vary the kinds of fruits and veggies you eat. Keep them washed and ready to eat for quick snacks. Prepare recipes that have fruits or vegetables as the main ingredient. For inspiration, try the 28 Day Heart-Healthy Meal Plan from Eating Well!
- Choose whole grains. At least half of your grains should be whole grains, which provide fiber and other nutrients that help to regulate blood pressure and heart health. Simply substitute refined grain products made with white flour for those containing whole wheat, whole oats, brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa and other whole grains.
- Limit saturated & trans fats. Keep your heart healthy by choosing the right kinds of fats. Limit your intake of saturated fats in foods such as red meat, cheese and ice cream, and trans fats found in commercially prepared baked goods, snack foods, fried foods and margarine. Replace these with small amounts of healthy fats such as those found in plant oils, salmon, nuts, seeds and avocadoes.
- Control portion sizes. Limiting portions can help you lose weight and ultimately prevent heart disease. Pay attention to serving sizes listed on nutrition labels. Weigh and measure your food so you don’t overestimate how large a serving should be. Use a smaller plate to trick your brain into thinking you have a bigger meal. Drink plenty of water to keep you feeling full throughout the day.
- Cut down on salt. Consuming too much salt causes your body to retain water, puts an extra burden on your heart and may raise blood pressure. Limit the amount of sodium you eat each day to less than 2,300 milligrams (about 1 teaspoon), including the salt found in food. Eat fewer processed foods, and try seasoning your foods with spices and herbs rather than salt.
Take Charge of Your Health with RediClinic
Get the support you need to take control of your health at your nearest RediClinic. We offer tests for diabetes and many other comprehensive health screenings to help you assess and maintain good health. To learn more, visit a RediClinic inside Houston, San Antonio or Austin H-E-B stores, or select Rite Aid Pharmacies in Baltimore/DC, Philadelphia, Seattle and the state of New Jersey.
Make an online appointment to visit a RediClinic near you.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among American men and women, causing one in four deaths. During American Heart Month, there are many things you can do to stop heart disease from affecting yourself and those you love. Let’s start b...