Take Heart with Proper Nutrition
Dietary Director’s Letter
February is American Heart Health Month. One of the easiest ways to help keep your heart in prime condition is to enjoy a diet that meets its needs.
The Mayo Clinic offers several tips on making your diet more heart smart.
Did your mother ever say “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach”? She had a point. No matter how hungry you think you are, never pile food on your plate. Instead, know what a serving size is for each item and stick to that. A serving size of fish, meat or chicken is about the size and thickness of a deck of card. Try using a smaller dish or bowl to make the portion sizes appear larger (fool those eyes). Drink a glass of water before your meal to provide a fuller feeling.
More fruits and vegetables
They provide a cornucopia of essential vitamins, and putting the emphasis on fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits helps add fiber to your diet. Loading up on them also helps you keep high-calorie foods at a minimum. Make sure you limit fried or breaded veggies or fruits in high-sugar heavy syrup.
These provide more fiber, which helps regulate blood pressure and heart health.
Good fats, bad fats
You should limit fats in your diet, but keep in mind there are good fats and there are bad fats. Among the good fats are olive, canola, vegetable and nut oils; nuts and seeds; avocados and trans fat-free margarine. Bad fats include cocoa butter; coconut, palm, cottonseed and palm-nut oils; bacon fat and lard, and butter.
It’s important to have proteins in your diet but make sure they’re low in fat. These can include cold-water fish, fat-free milk, skinless chicken and legumes such as beans, peas and lentils.
In addition to these suggestions, try to keep your daily sodium intake no more than 2,300 milligrams (about a teaspoon of salt). Ideally, adults should limit their daily intake to 1,500 mg. Create daily menus so you can plan ahead. And allow yourself an occasional treat so you don’t feel deprived.
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