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Here are five nutrition tips for a healthy heart and weight management:
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are generally low in fat, high in fiber, and contain a large amount of protective nutrients such as vitamins, mineral, antioxidants, and phytochemicals. Strive to fill half your plate with fruits or vegetables.
- Eat more whole grains. Whole grains will help you feel full even when eating less, can help to lower your cholesterol level, and (just like fruits and vegetables) contain a higher amount of protective vitamins and minerals.
- Eat fish two to three times each week. Good choices for heart health include trout, salmon, and albacore tuna. Don't like fish? Another heart healthy recommendation is to eat more plant-based proteins like legumes, nuts, or soy. Try for one or two meatless meals each week.
- Choose heart healthy fats (also known as monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats). Good fat sources include olive and canola oil, avocados, nuts, olives, flaxseed, and fatty fish.
- Eat less processed foods. Many commercially prepared foods are high in fat, sugar, and salt.
Experiment with cooking at home more often. If you must rely on prepared foods, look for ones with minimal processing (for example, plain frozen vegetables instead of frozen vegetables in sauce).
First things first get rid of all those bad for you foods in the house. Just clear it all out and don’t purchase it again for the house. Get rid of the sodas, chips, cookies, ice cream etc. Leave these items as a special treat you have once in a while away from the house.
Next avoid prepackaged foods. Most of the time these are high in fat and sodium, while homemade meals not only taste better but you know what’s going into them.
Try making just enough for everyone to have one serving and always serve a salad, that way if someone is still hungry you can pass the salad round again.
Double up on your hot veggies. You don’t have to serve just one at dinner: Peas and sweet potato, broccoli and cauliflower, carrots and asparagus.
Brush up on your serving sizes. It’s easy to get away for this. The fist size is the easiest way to measure.
Take time to plan your menus for the week as well as snacks. Think healthy.
The first New Year’s resolution you can make is to protect your heart over the New Year’s holiday itself. Alongside Christmas, New Year’s is one of the most hazardous days of the year in terms of heart health. Researchers aren’t sure why, but more fatal heart attacks occur at Christmas and New Year’s than at any other time of year in the United States. One theory is that people’s routines, including diet and exercise, change dramatically during this period and may contribute to heart attack. So on New Year’s, celebrate, but do so in moderation. Make heart-healthy food choices and limit alcohol consumption.
But what about once you are past the holiday? What heart-health resolutions should you carry forward? Consider the benefits to your heart when you resolve to make changes to your diet or to exercise more. Even modest weight loss (if you are overweight or obese) can reduce your risk of heart disease or slow the progress of existing disease. If you smoke, think about the benefits to your heart when you make that resolution to quit. Tobacco use damages your arteries and can contribute to heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular events. Quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do for your heart health.
A resolution you may be less likely to consider is to make a doctor’s appointment for yourself or for a loved one. When was the last time you discussed your heart health with your doctor? And do you know a loved one who would be more likely to go to the doctor if you scheduled the appointment or drove him or her to the office?
Don’t forget your heart health when you are making New Year’s resolutions. Heart attack is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States, so making a resolution to take care of your heart can be one of the most important things you do to have the highest possible quality of life into the coming year.
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.