Mobile Alabama’s Guide to a Healthy Heart
Basic Nutrition Guidelines for a Healthy Heart:
- Decrease or eliminate soft drinks in your diet.
- Decrease the amount of processed foods in your diet.
- Add ground flaxseed to your diet to help decrease elevated cholesterol levels.
- Increase physical activity and exercise in your weekly schedule.
- Replace saturated fats, also known as bad fats, with monounsaturated fats, also known as good fats. (Saturated fats are found in butter, fatty meats, cheeses and dairy products. Avoid margarines with trans fats. Check with your health professional for information on margarines that do not have trans fats. Monounsaturated fats are found in olive oil and canola oil, nuts (soy), peanut butter and avocados. Just remember that even though these are good fats, they are high in calories and can contribute to weight gain if you overindulge in these items.)
- Keep fat in diet to no more than 20-30% of your total calories, and limit saturated fats to no more than 7-10% of your total calories, or usually about 10-20 grams of saturated fat per day. For example, 7% of saturated fat in a 2000-calorie diet would be 14 grams of saturated fat per day.
- Limit your cholesterol intake to no more than 200-300 mg a day.
- Read the food labels. First read the portion size at the top of the label. All of the amounts of fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol are for the portion size.
- Be aware of your portion sizes, especially when eating out. Restaurant portions are quite often too large.
- Incorporate fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut, and cod into your diet because these fish are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for the heart.
- Limit sweets and sugar snack items in your diet.
- If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. Moderate drinking is one drink a day for women and 2 for men.
- Add fiber to your diet, such as whole grain breads, cereals, oatmeal, beans, and fruit and vegetables. Try to have at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Fiber helps you to feel full, and it can help to carry cholesterol out of your bloodstream.
- Try to limit meat to 6 ounces a day, and limit red meat to twice a week.