Heart Health refers to the maintenance of the strength of your heart, which is a muscle. As people age, changes can occur in the heart like hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis), buildup of cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease, and high blood pressure (hypertension), which can lead to heart attack or stroke. Maintaining a healthy diet, being physically active, and maintaining a healthy weight can delay or even prevent the onset of heart disease.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance made in the liver and other cells and found in certain foods, such as food from animals like dairy products, eggs, and meat. The body needs some cholesterol in order to produce hormones, vitamin D, and the bile acids that help to digest fat, but when too much is present it can lead to health problems like heart disease.
What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are required in our diet. They are associated with many health benefits, including protection against heart disease and possibly stroke. Cold water fish, nuts and seeds, and certain oils like olive and canola oil contain Omega-3 Fatty Acids. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings per week of fish. One serving is defined as about four ounces.
Heart Health Nutrition Tips
Eat Less Sugar
Excessive sugar intake is linked to heart disease. These sugars are usually found in packaged/processed snacks and candy and sweetened beverages like soda. Limit your intake of these foods. Excessive sugar can cause high triglyceride levels in the body, which can cause heart disease.
Eat More Fiber
Eating fiber from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds helps lower your chances of developing heart disease. Fiber can aid in binding cholesterol in your digestive tract and remove it from the body before it has a chance to be absorbed.
Eat Less Sodium
Eating a low sodium diet can prevent or lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Our body needs sodium, but most Americans consume it in excess. Most people with high blood pressure should limit their sodium intake to just 2,300 milligrams per day. Try herbs and spices instead.
Eat Less Saturated Fat
Some fats, like saturated and trans fats, are more likely to cause heart disease. These are usually found in high-fat dairy and high-fat animal proteins like hot dogs, sausage, and bacon. They are also found in many processed/packaged snack foods.
(The sugar, fiber, sodium, and saturated fat content can be found on the food label of all packaged foods.)
Heart Health Shopping List:
Fruit & Vegetables:
Frozen, no sugar or sodium added
Canned Fruit, in 100% fruit juice
Canned Vegetables, no sodium added
Dried, no sugar added
Tortillas, corn or whole wheat
Whole Grain Bread
Whole Grain Cereal, low-sugar
Whole Grain Pasta
Lean Proteins & Dairy:
Beans and peas, dried or canned
Cheese, reduced fat
Cottage Cheese, low-fat
Greek yogurt, low-fat or fat-free
Meat, lean cuts
Milk, low-fat or fat-free
Nuts and seeds
Yogurt, low-sugar and low-fat or fat-free
Reasor’s offers a wide variety of foods for those interested in Heart Health or even just a general, balanced diet. Reasor’s also has Registered Dietitians on staff and eager to help you learn more about how to decrease your heart disease risk and practice living a lifestyle your heart will love! The Reasor’s Registered Dietitians offer services such as personal shopping experiences, one-on-one consultations, customized meal plans, and more!
Information included does not constitute medical advice and should only be used as a general recommendation for a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle. Reasor’s Registered Dietitians’ opinions and recommendations are their own; they are not paid to endorse any products or services.