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Love Your Heart: Eat Healthy


Eating healthy is one of your best bets against heart disease, and it’s much easier than you think. It starts with making smart choices to create a balanced diet --- lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and limited sugar and salt, for example.

But a true “heart smart” diet also requires that you pay attention to cholesterol, lipid and triglyceride levels --- something your physician can check during your annual visits. You can also meet with a dietitian to learn more about heart-healthy cooking and meal planning.

Back to basics
Here are some basic nutrition guidelines to help reduce your risk of heart disease:

  • Eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Select whole-fat dairy products with no added sugar (milk, yogurt, natural cheese)
  • Include nuts and legumes (beans, peas, almonds, walnuts, etc.) in your diet
  • Choose fresh meats rather than processed meats
  • Avoid fried foods
  • Limit sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Eat fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, mackerel, herring)

Cut the salt
A diet high in sodium often leads to high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease. Healthy adults keep their salt intake to about 2,400 milligrams (about a teaspoon) per day. Be cautious when eating at a restaurant or when buying food in a can, bag or box. Making your own meals and snacks seasoned with herbs and spices rather than salt is a healthy alternative.

Fats and oils
Limit your consumption of foods that are high in trans fats and processed oils (soybean oil, vegetable oil, canola oil). Instead, use heart-healthy oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, and butter.

Change for the better
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S., yet you can cut your risk significantly just by changing your eating habits. Start with small steps and then make bigger changes as you adapt to your new lifestyle.

Need a primary care doctor? To schedule an appointment with any of our Baton Rouge General Physicians, please call (225) 763-4500.

The information in these articles is based on statistics and guidelines provided by the American Heart Association, National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control, and Baton Rouge General clinical staff

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