Tips to be Heart Healthy in Honor of Heart day

Do you try to eat healthy and wonder about the right choices to make?  Try these simple steps to help keep your heart healthy:

Photo by Free Digital

1) Fruits and vegetables– Buy and eat plenty of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. Pick the
fruits and vegetables that are deeply colored throughout – such as
spinach, carrots, peaches and berries – tend to be higher in vitamins
and minerals than others, such as potatoes and corn.

When fresh foods aren’t available, choose frozen or canned vegetables and fruits in water without added sugars, saturated and trans fat, or salt.

Buy more fruits and vegetables that are good sources of fiber, including beans, peas, oranges, bananas, strawberries and apples. Stock up on raw vegetables for snacks such as carrot and celery sticks, broccoli, cherry tomatoes and cauliflower.

For desserts, buy fresh or canned fruits (in water without added sugars), dried fruit (without added sugars), and gelatin that contains fruit, instead of baked goods and sweets.

Try to stay away from buying/drinking lots of fruit juice. It doesn’t provide the fiber whole fruit does and it’s not as good at satisfying hunger.Some cholesterol-lowering medications may interact with grapefruit, grapefruit juice, pomegranate and pomegranate juice. Talk to your health care provider about any potential risks.

Some cholesterol-lowering medications may interact with grapefruit, grapefruit juice, pomegranate and pomegranate juice. Talk to your health care provider about any potential risks.

2)    Milk, cheese, butter and eggs – Choose fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk. Choose fat-free, low-fat or reduced-fat cheeses.
-Avoid milk that contains added flavorings such as vanilla, chocolate or strawberry. They usually have added sugars and calories.
-Use egg whites or egg substitutes instead of egg yolks. (Substitute two egg whites for each egg yolk in recipes that call for eggs.)
-Choose soft margarines that contain “0 grams trans fat” instead of buying butter. (These margarines usually come in tubs.)
-Try to stay away from buying a lot of butter, cream and ice cream. Save those for special occasions and, even then, limit how much you eat. These foods have more saturated fat than whole milk.

Photo by dan

3) Meat, poultry, fish and nuts –  Buy and prepare more fish. Try to eat one serving of grilled or baked fish at least twice a week. (A serving is roughly the size of a checkbook.) Good examples of fish to buy include salmon, trout and herring. Choose lemon juice and spices to eat with fish. Skip the cream sauces. And try to stay away from fried fish. It’s usually high in fat — often trans fat.

Choose cuts of red meat and pork labeled “loin” and “round”; they usually have the least fat. Buy “choice” or “select” grades of beef rather than “prime,” and trim off the fat before cooking.

When buying or eating poultry, choose the leaner light meat (breasts) rather than the fattier dark meat (legs and thighs). Try the skinless version or you can remove the skin yourself.

Pick up nuts and seeds, which are good sources of protein and polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats – but remember, they tend to be high in calories, so eat them in moderation.

4) Bread & Baked Goods – Choose whole-grain, high-fiber breads, such as those containing whole wheat, oats, oatmeal, whole rye, whole grain corn and buckwheat. Choose breads and other foods that list whole grains as the first item in the ingredient list.

Try to limit the amount of bakery products you purchase, including doughnuts, pies, cakes and cookies. Look instead for fat-free or low-fat and low-sodium varieties of crackers, snack chips, cookies and cakes.

Remember that most store-baked goods are made with egg yolks, saturated fats and/or trans fats. Check for store-baked goods that are made with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oils, skim or reduced-fat milk, and egg whites — or make your own.

5)   Oils, Dressings & Shortenings – Buy and use fats and oils in limited amounts. When you must use oils for cooking, baking or in dressings or spreads, choose the ones lowest in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol — including canola oil, corn oil, olive oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, soybean oil and sunflower oil.  Also, buy a nonstick pan or use nonstick vegetable spray when cooking.
-Try to not use palm oil, palm kernel oil, coconut oil and cocoa butter. Even though they are vegetable oils and have no cholesterol, they’re high in saturated fats.
-Choose reduced-fat, low-fat, light or fat-free salad dressings (if you need to
limit your calories) to use with salads, for dips or as marinades.

Here’s to a Happy Heart!

Source:  14 February 2012. Shopping_UCM_001884_Article.jsp#.TzqxyYHf_Xp.
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