According to the American Heart Association, making wise dietary choices keeps your heart healthy. This month, make a commitment to learn more about cardiovascular health. It may sound difficult, but it's not. Heart health is not about one big, overwhelming choice. It's about the small choices you make throughout your day.
Here are a few simple choices from the AHA website to help get you moving towards a happier, healthier you...
1. Use up at least as many calories as you take in.
Start by knowing how many calories you should be eating and drinking to maintain your weight. Don’t eat more calories than you know you can burn up every day. Increase the amount and intensity of your physical activity to match the number of calories you take in. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week or—best of all—at least 30 minutes every day.
2. Eat a variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups.
Nutrient-rich foods have vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients but are lower in calories. To get the nutrients you need, choose foods like vegetables, fruits, whole-grain products and fat-free or low-fat dairy products most often.
3. Eat less of the nutrient-poor foods.
The right number of calories to eat each day is based on your age and physical activity level and whether you're trying to gain, lose or maintain your weight. As you make daily food choices, base your eating pattern on these recommendations:
- Choose lean meats and poultry without skin and prepare them without added saturated and trans fat.
- Select fat-free, 1 percent fat, and low-fat dairy products.
- Cut back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet.
- Cut back on foods high in dietary cholesterol. Aim to eat less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol each day.
- Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars.
- Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt. Aim to eat less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.
- If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. That means one drink per day if you’re a man.
- Keep an eye on portion size.
For more information, visit the American Heart Association website at: http://www.americanheart.org