We've heard it before: you are what you eat. Simply prefacing our foods with "low" - low sodium, low fat, low cholesterol, low whatever - is not enough, and we are bombarded with enough confusing information to send us into a tailspin. This isn't just for a weight loss plan, this is to help control the impact of poor food choices upon your heart's well-being. So, how do you begin to make the healthy choices that can help keep your heart beating strong for life?
You begin at the proverbial beginning. Many nutritionists and dietitians recommend keeping a food journal. I've done this myself, as I can hold myself accountable for my intake and determine any patterns that need to be addressed. A heart-healthy diet includes:
1. high fiber foods, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables;
2. good fats like monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) found in avocados, flaxseed oil, olive oil and nuts, for example;
3. limited amounts of sodium;
4. omega-3 fatty acids as found in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna, and in omega-3 enriched eggs.
This is only the tip of the barrel. Check with your doctor and, if possible, a nutritionist to get a good plan designed just for you. Learn how to balance your calories with your activity level to maintain a healthy weight. Did I say activity? That means exercise! Your heart needs exercise, too.
The bottom line: good eating habits help you maintain a healthy weight which helps your heart stay strong.
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