The foods we eat on a regular basis make a difference in how healthy our hearts are.
Diet is a powerful tool for preventing heart disease, or managing it (other health problems, too). These 10 tips — about food choices, and about other habits — offer a strong strategy for creating a heart-healthy diet you can live with for life:
- Choose whole grains, not refined grains such as white flour.
- Choose fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks and side dishes. Aim to eat two to four servings of fruit per day, and three to five servings of vegetables.
- Choose low-fat dairy products.
- Eat fish.
- Choose loin or round cuts of red meat and pork, and look for choice or select grades of beef instead of prime; these cuts of meat typically have less fat.
- Make a shopping list before you go to the grocery store to avoid picking up junk food on impulse.
- Read food labels; look at sodium content and choose low-sodium alternatives.
- Stick to a healthy dining plan when eating out.
- Eat fewer processed foods, which tend to be high in salt to mask the taste of chemicals and additives they contain. Examples include hot dogs and frozen dinners.
- Limit alcohol. One drink is defined as one 12-ounce beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor. Women should have no more than one serving of alcohol per day, men no more than two. Try “mocktails” for something festive to drink that has no alcohol.