Heart Healthy Eating
7 Tips to Maximize Cardiac Care
As we discussed last time, taking care of your heart is a crucial step toward overall health. A nutritious diet not only supports cardiac health, but it also impacts other important organs, such as your lungs and kidneys. Healthful eating goes a long way toward keeping your body in optimal shape, and you will have more energy and immunity from common infections. Even if you have had some difficulty making healthy food choices, remember that you are only one meal away from being back on track. Your past choices are in the past, and you can choose to begin again at any time.
Here are 7 tips to keep in mind as you continue your journey toward better health:
- Keep your portion sizes reasonable. You can eat unlimited amounts of certain veggies and fruits, but make sure to follow some basic portion guidelines with other foods. Meat, fish, and chicken portions are about the size of a deck of cards or 5 to 6 ounces. Pasta and rice portions are roughly the size of your fist or a half-cup, and cereal portions are about the size of a tennis ball. Using a smaller plate or bowl also helps keep portion sizes down.
- Remember that veggies and fruit have lots of vitamins and minerals that are high in fiber and low in calories. Good choices include artichokes, peas, berries, mango, oranges, and papaya. Strive for at least nine different types of these foods each day.
- Increase other forms of dietary fiber. Choose high fiber cereals that have at least 5g of fiber per serving, brown rice, barley, beans, and steel cut oats. All of these choices will decrease total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and promote smooth passage of waste through your system.
- Choose foods high in omega 3 fatty acids. Examples include salmon, tuna, and halibut. These acids are important in balancing cholesterol and maintaining cardiac health. Because omega 3 is not produced in your body, you have to eat specific foods to realize the benefits.
- Monitor fat intake and choose monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats over other types. Examples include extra virgin olive oil, flax oil, sesame oil and certain nuts (macadamia, walnuts, and almonds.) Avoid processed sugar and fat as often as possible. Fast food, butter, margarine, and bakery items are loaded with both.
- Dark green veggies like broccoli, spinach, swiss chard and kale are filled with heart healthy vitamins. Asparagus, sweet potatoes, and acorn squash are other good choices.
- In moderation, certain teas, red wine, and dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) are also good for your heart. Think Valentine’s Day!
In general, shoot for foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. These
foods are the least processed and are healthier choices than those that have gone through certain types of processing and have additives. This whole food approach to your diet is a key to heart health and you will feel better and have more energy as a result. Remember to share ideas and recipes with others, and get support from others. Check out our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/simplehealthnh/
Next time we will talk about ways to become passionate about your health, and we will offer suggestions to help you on your way to be successful.
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