Tuesday, February 8, 2011

go red with heart healthy foods

Thanks to Stephanie at A Professor's Wife, I'm learning so much about going red and taking care of my heart. We've all heard that a healthy and balanced diet is key to your body's health, but what does that mean? When I slam some Chipotle and don't see any immediate negative consequences, well except for my protruding food baby, what's to keep me from eating it again and again? As Americans we are designed for short-term reward (more on this in an upcoming edition of Therapy Thursday), so because it's delicious and satisfies my hunger for an entire day, I eat Chipotle. But over time, Chipotle will undoubtedly catch up with my thighs me. So what should I be eating in order to achieve said healthy and balanced diet to keep my heart healthy?


The American Heart Association web site if full of fabulous heart health facts and tips for living a healthier lifestyle. I stumbled upon their Simple 7 and found their list of recommended food choice guidelines:
  • Vegetables and fruits are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber - and they’re low in calories. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables may help you control your weight and your blood pressure.
  • Unrefined whole-grain foods contain fiber that can help lower your blood cholesterol and help you feel full, which may help you manage your weight.
  • Eat fish at least twice a week. Recent research shows that eating oily fish containing omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, trout, and herring) may help lower your risk of death from coronary artery disease.
  • 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. Aim to eat less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol each day. Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt. Aim to eat less than 1500 milligrams of sodium per day.


Also in my search for heart healthy foods, I found a list of the Top 25 Heart Healthy Foods on WebMD. And here's a look at the Top 10 from that list (check out the rest of list and why these foods are good for your heart here):
  1. Salmon
  2. Flaxseed (ground)
  3. Oatmeal
  4. Black or Kidney Beans
  5. Almonds
  6. Walnuts
  7. Red wine
  8. Tuna
  9. Tofu
  10. Brown rice

Now, let's talk fats. There are four major dietary fats that you've probably seen on nutrition labels. Two are bad (saturated fat and trans fat), two are better (monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat).
  • Saturated fats: Eating foods that contain saturated fats raises the level of cholesterol in your blood.  High levels of blood cholesterol increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Trans fats: Trans fats raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels.  Eating trans fats increases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
  • Monounsaturated fats: When eaten in moderation or used to replace saturated fats or trans fats, monounsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells.  Monounsaturated fats are also typically high in vitamin E, an antioxidant vitamin most Americans need more of.
  • Polyunsaturated fats: When consumed in moderation or used to replace saturated fats or trans fats, polyunsaturated fats can help reduce the cholesterol levels in your blood and lower your risk of heart disease.They also include essential fats that your body needs but can’t produce itself – such as omega-6 and omega-3, which play a crucial role in brain function and in the normal growth and development of your body. 
 {all photos found by Googling heart healthy foods or fats and oils. No copyright intended.}
    Hopefully, between the guidelines, the heart healthy foods list, and the fat info, I can start making better choices when it comes to my eating habits. Kudos if you're already maintaining your heart health with a balanced diet. If not, maybe this will inspire and help you to eat healthier. For your heart's sake.

    2 comments:

    Chelsea Talks Smack said...

    Yes, this is a good reminder for me to eat a bit better this week...eeek! haha.

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