To be strong our bodies need a wide variety of nutritious foods each day. A heart healthy diet is rich in fruit, vegetables, fiber and whole grains and low in sodium and fat.
Limit the saturated and trans fats in your diet to less than 10% of your total calories. Saturated fats tend to raise blood cholesterol levels. Large amount of saturated fats are often found in meat, dairy products and vegetable oils. Similar to saturated fats, trans fats are linked to high levels of blood cholesterol and heart disease. They are commonly found in stick margarine, crackers, cookies, doughnuts and fried foods.
Start with these general eating guidelines for a healthier heart:
- Limit red meat.
- Eat fish and poultry (chicken, turkey) at least twice a week. Make sure to remove poultry skin before serving.
- Bake, broil, grill, microwave or poach meat.
- Use low-fat and non-fat dairy products.
- Read food labels and choose foods lower in saturated and trans fats.
- Use healthier oils such as canola, olive or soybean oil.
- Season foods with herbs, spices, garlic and onions to add flavor.
- Avoid convenience foods such as canned soups, pasta sauces, and prepackaged or frozen meals. They often are higher in sodium and fat.
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