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How to Make Heart-Healthy Food Choices

Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the best weapons for fighting cardiovascular disease and other heart conditions.

Assuming most Americans know this fact, why is heart disease still the number 1 killer among adults? A major reason is that most Americans eat too many high-fat, high-calorie foods. 

These steps will help you reduce your risk for this condition:

  • Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Produce is full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other essential nutrients. And produce is practically free of fat and cholesterol.

  • Choose foods made mostly with whole grains rather than refined grains. Whole-grain foods include brown rice, oats, quinoa, whole-wheat bread, and whole-grain cereals.

  • Cut back on high-fat foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, trans fat, and saturated fat. Use liquid vegetable oils in place of soft or hard margarine or shortening. Limit cheese, butter, ice cream, processed and fatty meats, cakes, cookies, pastries, muffins, pies, and doughnuts.

  • Eat more seafood and eat fish at least 2 times a week. Recent research shows that eating fish like salmon, trout, and herring can be good for you. All these contain omega-3 fatty acids. They may help lower your risk for death from coronary artery disease.

  • Read and compare food labels. To make the best use of food labels, first look at how many servings the package contains. Then look at the calories and fat per serving. Multiply the calories and fat by the number of servings you’re going to eat.

  • Cut back on foods that are high in cholesterol. Some of these foods are eggs, red meat, and liver.

  • Limit sugary beverages like soda and juice with added sugar.

  • If you do not drink alcohol, do not start. If you drink alcoholic beverages, limit your intake. Alcohol is high in calories. Limit intake to 1 drink per day for women and 2 for men.

  • Prepare foods with little or no added salt.

After you purchase nutritious foods, make certain you prepare them in a healthy manner. Grill fish and chicken instead of frying it. Finally, watch food portion size—and watch your health improve the longer you select heart-healthy food choices!  

Online Medical Reviewer: Stacey Wojcik MBA BSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Steven Kang MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Tennille Dozier RN BSN RDMS
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2023
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