Simple Ingredients for Heart Healthy Living Eat a Heart Healthy Diet Move More Stress Less
Key Ingredients for A Heart Healthy Diet Portions – how much is important Healthy Fats – look to the sea Fruits & Veggies –antioxidants are protective Beans, beans - good for the heart…. Whole Grains- help lower cholesterol Watch the Sodium – keep BP in check
Lending a Hand for Portion Control Use your hand as a guide for portion sizes. A serving of meat or fish fits in the palm of your hand. A serving of fresh fruit is about the size of your fist. A serving of vegetables, rice, or pasta should fit in your cupped hand.
Replace Bad Fats with Good Fats Research shows that there is only a weak link between the amount of cholesterol you eat and your blood cholesterol levels. The biggest influence on your cholesterol is the type of fats you eat—not your dietary cholesterol. The answer isn’t cutting out the fat—it’s learning to make healthy choices and to replace bad fats with good ones that promote health and well-being.
Replace Bad Fats … Trans fats and Saturated Fats have a negative effect on cholesterol. Limit these: Commercially-baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough and mixes Packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips) Stick margarine/Vegetable shortening Fried foods (French fries, fried chicken, breaded fish, hard taco shells) Candy bars High-fat cuts of meat (beef, lamb, pork) Chicken with the skin Whole-fat dairy products (milk and cream) Butter Cheese Ice cream
….. with Good Fats. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated which are good for your heart, your cholesterol, and your overall health. Try these tips: Cook with olive oil. For baking, try canola or vegetable oil. Reach for the nuts and seeds. They are great for snacks and you can also add them to vegetable dishes or use them instead of breadcrumbs on chicken or fish. Don’t forget about peanut butter! Snack on olives and avocados. Both are high in healthy monounsaturated fats. Try them plain or make a tapenade or guacamole for dipping. Dress your own salad. Commercial salad dressings are often high in saturated fat or made with damaging trans fat oils. Create your own healthy dressings with olive oil, flaxseed oil, or sesame oil. Eat more fish. But don’t bread it and throw it into the fryer, it will lose its healthful benefits.
Omega-3s Super Fats for the Heart Omega 3 Fatty Acids are a type of polyunsaturated fats that promotes heart health by Reducing inflammation in blood vessels and elsewhere. Lowering triglycerides, a type of blood fat. Reducing incidence of abnormal heart rhythms. Lowering bad cholesterol.
Great sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids Go for fatty fish, such as salmon, herring, albacore tuna, trout, sardines and anchovies. Two servings a week is ideal. Choose wild-caught, not farm raised – farms feed fish corn. Don't use the deep fryer - you'll negate the health benefits.
Don’t eat fish? Reach for walnuts, broccoli, and edamame (green soy beans)
Load up on Fruits and Vegetables 5-9 servings a day to lower cholesterol and blood pressure Keep them washed and cut in the refrigerator. Choose recipes with fruit and vegetables as the main ingredient like salads with fruit, stir- fry or smoothies. Frozen or canned are fine if fresh isn’t available.
What’s a Legume? Beans, peas and lentils are a good source of protein that are low fat and may reduce your cholesterol. Try beans in salads, burgers, soups, stews, or as a side dish. Tofu is an excellent source of protein.
Start With Whole Grains A bowl of oatmeal or whole-grain cereal has benefits that last all day. The fiber and complex help reduce LDL "bad" cholesterol. Other examples of whole grains include wild rice, popcorn, brown rice, barley, and whole-wheat flour and pasta.
Need A Snack? Go Nuts!
Reduce Sodium for Heart Health Most of the salt you eat comes from canned or processed foods like soups and frozen dinners and condiments. Eating fresh foods seasoned with herbs and spices is best. Low-salt items to choose Herbs and spices for flavor without adding salt Reduced-salt canned soups, prepared meals and condiments High-salt items to avoid Table salt (Sea salt is the same nutritionally) Canned soups and prepared foods, such as frozen dinners Tomato and vegetable juice Soy sauce Processed cheeses
Put a Healthy Eating Plan into Action Plan ahead and create daily menus using these strategies: Emphasize healthy fats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and whole grains. Choose lean protein sources. Limit high-fat and salty foods. Watch your portion sizes. Add variety.
Move more for a Healthy Heart 30 minutes of physical activity, such as walking, on most days lowers risk of heart disease, stroke, helps you lose weight, and keeps bones strong. You don't have to exercise for 30 minutes straight -- you can break it up into 10-minute increments.
Stop making exercise so hard…. If you're not used to exercising -- or hate the thought of going to a gym -- just go for a walk. It's easy, healthy, and all you need is a good pair of shoes. If you're just starting out, try a 10-minute walk and gradually build up from there. Visit for a simple beginning walking program.www.CommonHealth.virginia.gov Any kind of cardiovascular activity counts -- gardening, dancing, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Even housework can qualify as exercise.
Don’t Stress Out Chronic stress can raise blood pressure and research shows that stress might directly increase cholesterol levels. Reduce your stress levels with relaxation exercises, meditation, or biofeedback. Focus on your breathing and take deep, refreshing breaths. It's a simple stress-buster you can do anywhere.
Follow Your Doctor's Advice Managing your heart health is a lifelong process. See your doctor regularly to keep tabs on your health. Follow your doctor's recommendations on diet, exercise, and medication. Working together, you and your doctor can lower your cholesterol levels and keep your heart going strong.