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Boost Your Heart Health by Eating Better - Step 2

January 4, 2011

My Life Check by the American Heart Association offers a simple, seven step list to help people live longer, healthier lives. They call them “Life’s Simple7” and they are: Get Active, Eat Better, Lose Weight, Stop Smoking, Control Cholesterol, Manage Blood Pressure, and Reduce Blood Sugar.

Step two has an impact on the rest, because eating better will help you lose weight, which in turn will have an effect on your cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood sugar.

Boost Heart Health with Healthy FoodsThe American Heart Association recommends that you eat a wide variety of nutritious foods daily from each of the basic food groups, and say that a healthy diet and lifestyle are your best weapons to fight cardiovascular disease.

To get the nutrients you need, choose foods like vegetables, fruits, whole-grain products and fat-free or low-fat dairy products most often. Vegetables and fruits are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber — and they’re low in calories, helping control your weight and your blood pressure.

Unrefined whole-grain foods contain fiber that can help lower your blood cholesterol and help you feel full, which may help you manage your weight.

Eat fish at least twice a week. Recent research shows that eating oily fish containing omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, trout, and herring) may help lower your risk of death from coronary artery disease. Choose lean meats and poultry without skin and prepare them without added saturated and trans-fat. Select fat-free, 1 percent fat, and low-fat dairy products.

Cut back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans-fat in your diet. Aim to eat less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol each day. Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt. Aim to eat less than 1500 milligrams of sodium per day.

With info from credible sources, you can make smart choices in your diet for long-term benefits to your heart health.