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With Valentine's Day right around the corner, it only makes sense the February is a month all about the heart and is recognized as American Heart Month. Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in this country. In fact, there is an entire campaign called Go Red For Women to advocate heart disease prevention for women.
One of the most important parts of prevention is to learn the warning signs of heart attack, stroke, and cardiac arrest. Nutrition also plays a key role in heart disease prevention.
Nutrition strategies for preventing heart disease include:
- Eat less sodium. Keep sodium to less than 2,300 mg per day. If you already have high blood pressure, stay below 1,500 mg per day.
- Keep the bad fats low. Saturated fat should be less than 7% of your calories (I like to recommend staying below 15-20 grams per day) and trans fat should be less than 1 gram (better to have none) per day. Saturated fat is found in fatty meats, high fat dairy (butter, cheese, cream, whole milk), palm kernel oil, and coconut oil. Trans fat has been significantly reduced in our food supply but you can still find it in some fried foods, crackers, donuts, desserts, etc. Read food labels and look up nutritional info at your favorite restaurants to see how much saturated and trans fat are in your favorite foods.
- Keep dietary cholesterol low. Aim for less than 300 mg per day. Egg yolks and seafood like shrimp and lobster are highest (so is liver but not many people it is often). You can have some of these foods, but just limit portion and frequency. An average of one egg yolk per day is fine, but don't have 2-3 eggs daily.
- Eat more soluble fiber. Eat more beans, oatmeal, and fruits and vegetables.
- Choose foods with plant sterols. These plant sterols are fortified into a lot of products. Check back tomorrow for an entire blog post just on plant sterols.
Photo courtesy of aussiegall