Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Love Your Heart

Aim to reduce your risk for cholesterol, blood pressure, heart attacks, and diabetes. 

The American Heart Association recognizes that “at the heart of health is good nutrition.” 

Check your Fats
  • You do not need to restrict overall fat intake, but instead choose the “better” fats.  The total amount of fat should be 25-35% of your daily calories.
  • Limit Saturated and Trans Fats:
    • Fatty meats, poultry skin, bacon, whole milk, cream, fried foods
    • Packaged foods made with hydrogenated oils and tropical oils (coconut, palm)
  •  Choose low fat dairy, lean cuts of beef (loin, leg, round), skinless poultry
  •  Select monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
    • Flaxseed (oil or ground), walnuts, salmon, soybean oils

How frequently and how much meat are you eating? 
Plan to eat more plant-based meals with beans and soy foods for protein.  Try Meatless Mondays?

Cut the Salt
  •  If you typically consume a high salt diet, give your taste buds time to adjust.
    •  ¼ teaspoon of table salt has ~600 milligrams of sodium.
    • Aim for less than 2,000 milligrams per day.
  •  Start with not adding salt to foods; then, avoid processed packaged foods high in salt. 
    •  Check the nutrition label.  Select foods with no more than 140 milligrams per serving.
    • Rinse off canned and frozen foods.
  • Add a salt-free herbal blend.
  • Table salt, Kosher salt or sea salt?  All salts have the same basic nutritional value and can add to your daily sodium intake.

Healthy Snacks
For those always on the go, keep a nutritious snack ready for an energy boost!
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Low fat cheese + whole-wheat crackers
  • Small handful of nuts or small spoonful of peanut butter

Fill up with Fiber.  Get 20-30 grams of fiber daily.
  • Whole Grains: Check the ingredients label! Aim for at least 3 ounces of whole grain foods daily.
  • Fruits & Vegetables: Aim for 5 servings a day.

Get Moving!  Engage in regular physical activity.

Remember: small, simple changes can add up to a beneficial difference and improve your quality of life.

As the American Heart Month ends, stay motivated towards your health and nutrition goals in March with National Nutrition Month®.

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