Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, and nutrition plays a key role in reducing your risk for heart disease. Therefore, we are here to help you make lifestyle changes that may benefit your heart.
To get started, be familiar with the risk factors which put you at greater risk for heart disease, such as: age, family history, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and tobacco use. Then develop a plan accordingly through dietary lifestyle changes. Below are tips to help you improve your heart health.
- Skip the salt, reducing salt is beneficial for better blood pressure control. 1 tsp of salt=2,000mg of sodium and recommendations are for 2,300mg per day or less. Instead, utilize herbs and spices when cooking, as well as choosing low sodium, salt-free or no salt added grocery items.
- Choose whole grains, these products provide an adequate source of fiber which can also aid in reducing cholesterol. Look for 100% whole wheat or other products like quinoa, farro, and oats.
- Incorporate fruits and vegetables into your daily eating pattern for a rich source of vitamins and minerals. Aim for 4-5 servings of both fruits and vegetables each day.
- Select lean protein sources for lower amounts of saturated fat. Good sources include eggs, fish, seafood, chicken, turkey, and pork. You can even try meatless protein sources such as beans, legumes, mushrooms, nuts, and seeds.
- Add in dairy for adequate sources of calcium and vitamin D, with choices such as milk, yogurt, and cheese.
- Choose good fats to provide a more adequate source of unsaturated fats and fatty acids. Choose sources such as olive oil, avocado, peanut butter, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish.
- Other tips include:
- Being mindful of portions sizes, moderation is key.
- Pay attention to food labels on packaged goods such as choosing high fiber, high protein, while low in sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol.
- Prepare more meals at home and utilize healthier cooking methods such as grilling, baking, broiling and steaming.
- Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity per day.
All in all, focus on small achievable lifestyle changes that can lead you to better heart health.
Sarah Newton, MS, RD, LDN, CNSC is a clinical dietitian with an advanced degree in nutrition as well as a Certified Nutrition Support Clinician. She graduated from Louisiana State University, then furthered her education with a Master’s of Science and dietetic internship from the University of Southern Mississippi. Sarah provides medical nutrition therapy for both inpatients and outpatients at Touro. She is passionate about nutrition and its major role in one's health.