Saturday, March 7, 2009

Heart Healthy Nutrition Tips from Heartstrong

Well in my search for Heart Healthy Nutrition Tips I saw this great blog post from the nurses at Heartstrong. Heartstrong is a health care education and consulting business run by two cardiac nurse practitioners. Their goal is to empower and help people live a longer healthier life.

What do they suggest?

A healthy diet includes 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Try eating more whole grains, lowfat dairy products, nuts, fish, and lean meats. Cut back on trans fats and saturated fats also limit your salt/sodium intake, and watch the added sugars. Fiber is very important.

Fill your refrigerator with:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables (variety is important - eat all the different color fruits and vegetables to improve the nutritional value)
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Skinless chicken, turkey, lean beef, fish
  • Frozen vegetables without added sauces to limit the added sodium

Stock your pantry with:

  • Olive or canola oil (avoid vegetable oil)
  • Non-fat cooking sprays
  • Try experimenting with different seasonings and spices (avoid salt or seasonings with sodium)
  • Raw nuts and seeds, dried fruits, whole grain crackers, baked chips, brown rice cakes, plain popcorn, whole grain pretzels make good snack choices


Before you eat it - Read it! Check the food label (especially serving sizes - most products list the nutrient values per serving but the package may contain several servings). Avoid or limit empty calories like soda, sweetened juices, alcohol. Watch your portion sizes and limit your fast food intake.

Avoid those infomercials and diet supplements that promise quick weight loss and try and stick to a sensible diet. A recent study found that the best way to lose weight is to CUT CALORIES - it doesn’t matter which diet you are following (low fat, high protein, low carb). To lose one pound a week you need to eat 500 fewer calories per day or burn 500 calories per day (exercising). If you need help think about consulting a nutritionist - they can help you develop an individualized plan.


Recent research studies have also shown that coronary artery disease starts to develop in children even though symptoms do not appear until adulthood. Encourage your kids to develop a heart healthy eating habits early - remember your children learn by watching you!

You can read their full post at: http://ow.ly/HsW. These nurses have also written what sounds like a great book “Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” which includes heart healthy shopping and cooking tips and healthy suggestions when eating out. Learn your risk factors and how to prevent heart disease. More information is available on their website at www.heart-strong.com

As I mentioned in my previous post, this month we're re-evaluating what we're eating. This upcoming week I am going to clean my pantry and see exactly what I've got in there and how I could improve my food shopping habits. Have any hints or tips for me? Please add your comments!

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