February is dedicated as American Heart Month to bring awareness to cardiovascular disease and ways to prevent it. The best ways to prevent heart disease are to increase activity, eat a healthy diet, and quit smoking if you are a smoker. Here are some tips to help you prevent heart disease through healthy diet choices:
1. Control your portion sizes
Sometimes we continue to eat even after we are full. To help prevent eating too much, only add a small amount to your plate. Then if you are still hungry after you eat, go back for a little more.
2. Eat more fruits and vegetables
Half of your plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables. Try eating more fruits and vegetables throughout the day by adding them to already existing meals or having them as a snack.
3. Eat whole grains
When selecting bread or rice products, try to find ones that are made with whole grains. This means they have not been heavily processed.
4. Avoid Trans Fats
there are two types of fats, trans fat and saturated fat. Trans fats should be avoided because they are a large contributor to heart disease. Saturated fats, such as olive oil, avocado, and nuts should be consumed in moderation as they are still high in calories.
5. Choose lean protein sources
When choosing a protein try to avoid options with high fat content such as bacon and select lean proteins such as chicken.
6. Reduce sodium
When shopping, check the nutrition label for sodium content, not just calories.
When eating out, check the menu ahead of time to see what healthy options are available.
8. Balance your meals
The occasional piece of cake won’t hurt! It is all about eating in moderation.
9. Incorporate more activity
Takes the steps instead of the elevator. Park far from the door of your destination. Stretch while watching TV. Go for a walk on your break.
Sources: The Mayo Clinic. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.