Amanda Ihmels, Oncology Dietitian, BCC
Stay 'Heart Healthy'

Here are some tips for a 'heart healthy' lifestyle:

  •    The American Heart Association has a great tool for assessing your risk of heart disease : My Life Check
  •    Reduce your sodium intake!  The average American consumes approximately 3,500mg of sodium a day!  The recommendations for the average American are 2,300mg of sodium daily and 1,500mg for those who have high blood pressure.
  •    Stay away from trans fat! Trans fat has been banned by the FDA because of overwhelming evidence that it raises LDL (bad) cholesterol and lowers your HDL (good) cholesterol! Trans fats can be found in packaged foods, frozen foods, popcorn, oils to fry foods, donuts, and many other baked goods.
  •    Make sure you are getting enough fiber!  Recommendations are for 25-35g of fiber per day. Typically Americans are only getting around 12g per day! Did you know that fiber can block the absorption of fat?
  •    Did you know that we get fiber from a variety of foods? Beans/lentils, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables all contain fiber.

Simple tips for following a heart healthy diet:

  • Choose foods that are fresh vs prepackaged/pre-prepared
  • Shoot for 2.5-3.5 cups of fruits and vegetables a day. Or, to make it simple, make half of your plate fruits and vegetables! Did you know that a
  • Shop the outside aisles of the grocery store
  • Skip the salt while cooking. Flavor foods with spices and herbs instead.
  • Read food labels and look for:
    • 300mg of sodium or less per serving
    • Less than 20% daily value of fat per serving
    • NO trans fat or hydrogenated oils (found in ingredient list)
  • Limit extra sugar in foods/beverages: cereals with added sugar, sugar sweetened beverages, candies, and baked goods
  • Choose more whole grain foods. In the ingredient list it must list whole wheat flour or whole oats as examples for the food to be made of whole grains. Wheat store bread is not whole wheat bread.
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