Is your diet heart-healthy?
Did you know that obesity has overtaken smoking as the leading cause for premature heart attack? Being overweight or obese is a major risk-factor for developing heart disease because it puts extra strain on the heart. Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, shares her tips to eat a heart-healthy diet.
Why is eating healthy important for our heart health?
Nurse Rose: Heart Month is the perfect time to kick your heart-healthy diet into high-gear! Eating a heart-healthy diet is important because it can:
- Lower your blood pressure and cholesterol
- Help you keep a healthy weight, and
- Reduce your risk for heart disease and diabetes
How can we eat more heart-healthy?
Nurse Rose: Try these heart-healthy tips to improve your diet.
- Aim for a balanced variety of these nutrient-rich foods.
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains like whole wheat barley, berries, quinoa, oats and brown rice
- Lean protein like fish, chicken, beans and nuts.
- Eat more healthy fats and limit unhealthy fats.
- Incorporate fatty fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocados for more healthy fats.
- Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products to cut unhealthy, saturated fats.
What kind of food should we avoid for heart health?
Nurse Rose: Try to avoid or limit these items that can harm your heart.
- Added sugar
- Avoid soda, sports drinks, juice and other sugary drinks.
- Go for water or beverages with 10 calories or less per serving.
- Limit processed sweets and baked goods, ice cream and candy.
- Choose foods with 140 mg of sodium or less per serving.
- Limit intake of packaged or processed foods.
- Always rinse canned vegetables.
- Add flavor to dishes with spices and herbs instead of salt