Celebrate Heart Health Month!
A heart healthy diet can be delicious and simple to follow. The American Heart Association offers a number of free resources on their website to help you get started.
Eating healthy doesn’t mean dieting. Instead, it’s best to aim for making your diet part of an overall healthier lifestyle. A great way to begin is to become more aware of what you’re eating.
Read Nutrition Labels
Many of us think we know what we’re eating until we actually look at the nutritional information. Pay particular attention to portion size per serving, saturated fat, and sodium. Tread lightly when it comes to foods higher in saturated fat (above 7% of calories) and sodium. Most of us should consume less than 1500 mg of sodium eat day but sadly the typical American diet contains about 3 times that amount and not from excessive salt shaker use but rather from the ready prepared and restaurant foods that many of us rely so heavily upon.
Here’s a few more ideas to get you started:
If you’re currently sedentary and your doctor feels it’s safe for you to do so,
slowly begin to incorporate more movement into your daily life. This doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym everyday but with a little regular physical activity, you’ll find it easier to control weight and reduce hunger while decreasing your risk of chronic disease.
Examine Your Plate
Aim to fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables. This will help fill you up on less calories and provide vital nutrients that play a role in blood pressure regulation.
Your Friend Fiber
Choose fiber rich foods including plenty of whole grains, fruits and veggies. Aim for breads and cereals that have a minimum of 3 or more grams of fiber per serving. Oat bran found in certain cereals and abundantly in old-fashioned oatmeal, is a wonderful addition to any breakfast lineup- as this particular fiber is has been found especially helpful to lower LDL (“bad cholesterol”) levels.
Get An Oil Change
The type of oil we consume can have a big impact on our health. Focus on the mono-unsaturated, heart-healthy oils such as olive and canola while aiming to incorporate those wonderful omega-3’s a couple times a week found in fatty fish such as salmon or tuna. You also find omega 3’s in non-animal sources as well such as walnuts and flaxseeds.
A heart healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be complicated. With a bit of planning, you’ll not only reduce your risk of heart disease, but feel so much better knowing you’ve taken a few steps to improve the quality of your life.
About the author:
Gina M. Crome, M.S., M.P.H., R.D., is a Registered Dietitian and ACE Certified Personal Trainer based in Southern California. She is the owner of Lifestyle Management Solutions, a company that provides customized nutrition and fitness programs designed to fit an individual’s lifestyle. Become a fan of Gina on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and visit her website Lifestyle Management