Ways to Eat “Heart Smart”

@Glowimages MON017186.Quick, what’s the leading cause of death among Americans? If you said heart disease, you’re right. What can you do about it? Take advantage of February, American Heart Month, to increase your awareness and follow the recommendations of the American Heart Association and the United States Department of Agriculture, and eat heart smart!

Read labels. Food labels are full of important information including serving size, number of servings per package, calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium and sugar content. Use them to make good choices when grocery shopping, as well as wise decisions when consuming food at home. In addition, look at the lingo used on product packaging. Words such as “choice” or “select” refer to leaner grades of beef; “loin” and “round” also indicate lean cuts of meat.

Eat more good-for-you foods. Eat at least 4 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables each day. Make produce a part of every meal and snack, and eat an array of colorful fruits and vegetables from blueberries to green beans. Eat at least 2 (3 ½-ounce) servings of fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids, such as salmon or mackerel, each week. Eat at least 3 (1-ounce) servings of whole grains each day. When eating foods such as cereal, bread or pasta, choose whole grain varieties at least half of the time. Also, eat at least 4 servings of nuts, legumes (beans) or seeds each week.

Eat and drink fewer not-so-good-for-you foods. Limit your intake of sodium to less than 1,500 mg a day. Limit your intake of processed meats, such as bologna or hot dogs, to no more than 2 servings a week. Also, limit your intake of saturated fat to less than 7 percent of total calories. Likewise, limit sodas, juices and energy drinks to no more than 450 calories each week.

To learn more about heart disease and the ways that you can eat heart smart, contact us at The Medical Center of Plano. Visit us online or give us a call today at 972-519-1307.

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