A healthy diet and lifestyle are your best weapons to fight cardiovascular disease. However, there are a lot of mixed messages and myths out there regarding healthy eating. It’s not surprising that a lot of us are confused about the different types of fats. We have lots of questions regarding sodium and meat and dairy. With all the differing opinions, it’s best to get informed from credible sources, so you can make smart choices in your diet for long-term benefits to your heart and health. It's the overall pattern of your choices that counts most.
What’s Most Important?
You may be eating plenty of food, but your body may not be getting the nutrients it needs to be healthy. 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. The American Heart Association recommends that you eat a wide variety of nutritious foods daily from each of the basic food groups.
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.