Eating Heart Healthy

With a new year and resolutions on our heels, many of us are still battling with making healthier choices in an effort to lose a few holiday pounds. Something that is often forgotten is that food does not only effect our waistlines, but it impacts our health and wellness as well. Sure, the treadmill and squats will help to mask the piece of cake eaten after lunch, but that piece of cake will disperse throughout our bodies depositing its sugary goodness into the wrong places. It’s important to make good choices to keep our insides healthy, and some tips to eating heart healthy are outlined below.

The first tip to eating healthy, according to the Mayo Clinic website, is to control portion sizes. The amount of food eaten is just as important as what is eaten. To avoid overeating, use smaller plates and bowls and eat larger portions of healthy foods like fruits and vegetables versus smaller portions of higher calorie foods.

While on the topic of fruits and veggies, the second piece of advice is to eat more of them. Like we’ve been told since we were youngsters at our parents’ kitchen table, it’s important to eat fruits and vegetables. They each have a benefit to our bodies and health, but some forms are better for the heart than others. Consult the graph below:

Fruits and vegetables to choose Fruits and vegetables to limit
·         Fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits

·         Low-sodium canned vegetables

·         Canned fruit packed in juice or water

·         Coconut

·         Vegetables with creamy sauces

·         Fried or breaded vegetables

·         Canned fruit packed in heavy syrup

·         Frozen fruit with sugar added

The third suggestion for a more heart healthy diet is to select whole grains, which are good sources of nutrients and fiber that contribute to heart health and the regulation of blood pressure. The graph below aids in choosing which grains to choose and which to avoid.

Grain products to choose Grain products to limit or avoid
·         Whole-wheat flour

·         Whole-grain bread, preferably 100% whole-wheat bread or 100% whole-grain bread

·         High-fiber cereal with 5 g or more of fiber in a serving

·         Whole grains such as brown rice, barley and buckwheat (kasha)

·         Whole-grain pasta

·         Oatmeal (steel-cut or regular)

·         White, refined flour

·         White bread

·         Muffins

·         Frozen waffles

·         Corn bread

·         Doughnuts

·         Biscuits

·         Quick breads

·         Cakes

·         Pies

·         Egg noodles

·         Buttered popcorn

·         High-fat snack crackers

Many other tips like limiting unhealthy fat and sodium from an everyday diet can be found at to aid in the creation of a heart healthy diet plan. It is important for all of us to take care of our hearts and maintain overall health and fitness to live long, happy lives.