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
Rose Melendez, RN
Head of Emergency Department
Rose Melendez, RN is the head of the Emergency Department and Nursing Administration at Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital. Tune into WGTS 91.9 FM every Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. to listen to Nurse Rose live on the radio.