February is Heart Month and nutrition is a great way to get your heart in tip-top shape. Follow these simple tips and work to improve the overall health of your heart:
1. Incorporate fruits and vegetables-Fruits and vegetables have good nutrients, along with fiber. Substitute some of your higher calorie foods for fruits and vegetables.
2. Increase whole grains-Switch some of your products to whole grains. Whole grains typically contain more fiber. Fiber helps to keep your arteries clean, which helps blood flow more easily.
3. Decrease sodium intake-New dietary guidelines have recommended an upper intake of sodium of ~2300mg/d. Excess sodium can cause water retention, putting more stress on the heart to pump blood throughout the body. Look for ‘low sodium’ or ‘no added salt’ products.
4. Consume lean meats-Look for lean meat choices when consuming beef, pork, chicken and turkey. Incorporate seafood and fish into the diet for a healthy source of fats.
5. Decrease saturated and trans fats-Decrease the amount of saturated and trans fats in the diet as they increase ‘bad’ cholesterol in the body. Look for less processed foods and leaner sources of meats to achieve this.
Look for ways you can improve your heart health through nutrition. What substitutions can you make to stay heart healthy.
Katherine Horner, MS, RD, LD
Surgical Weight Loss Dietitian & Exercise Specialist