Eating Right for Your Heart


Provide by The Pulse and Gale’s Health and Wellness Resource Center.

Remember the saying “you are what you eat”? But there is a lot of confusion over which foods are heart-healthy.

You can think about heart-healthy foods in terms of adding more specific foods to your diet, and by paying attention to the type of fat in the foods you eat.

The Mayo Clinic website offers guidelines for how much trans fat, saturated fat,and cholesterol should be in your diet for good heart health. Less than 7% of daily calories should come from saturated fat, and less than 1% from trans fat. Don’t be fooled by “reduced fat” products; many of these items are made with trans fat, so be sure to read the labels before you buy.

The Mayo Clinic’s other tips for heart-healthy eating include:

-Eating more whole grains

-Choosing fresh fruits and vegetables instead of those in heavy sauces

-Choosing lean meats and other protein sources over fatty meats.

Looking for specific suggestions for heart-healthy foods? The website of Eating Well magazine offers its top 15 heart-healthy foods, including the following: Yogurt, Raisins, Whole grain breads and pasta, Beans, Salmon and Nuts.

Another approach to heart-healthy foods is to make some of your favorite dishes heart-healthier. One easy way to do that is to cut down on sodium. Data recently published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that cutting down on sodium could significantly reduce the number of heart attacks and strokes in the United States.

The CDC findings identified top 10 sources of sodium in American diets. White bread/rolls, processed lunch meats, and pizza (restaurant or frozen) topped the list. Surprisingly, salty snack foods such as chips and pretzels were at the bottom of the list. The CDC noted in its report that sodium content in packaged foods (such as frozen pizza) varies widely by brand, so read the labels—the most heart-healthy option is the one with the least sodium.

Heart-healthy food and cooking need not be boring. The Food Network Web site includes a section dedicated to heart-healthy foods.

Their collection of 20 heart-healthy recipes includes easy and family-pleasing options including hummus, lentil soup, whole wheat pasta, and oatmeal raisin cookies.

For regular updates on healthy eating, check out the Food Network’s Healthy Eats blog.

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