Published on March 27, 2018

Keep your heart healthy with good food choices

More of this and less of that.

That’s the formula for a heart-healthy diet.

fruit crate“Healthy food choices can help lower your risk of getting heart disease,” says Anna M. Marshalick, MSN, RN, Regional Director of Education, Mercy Home Health. “And eating smart for your heart is a must if you already have heart problems.”

To feed your heart well, eat more:

Fruits and vegetables. A good goal is to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. But simply eating more produce helps. Canned or frozen varieties are fine as long as they don’t have high-calorie sauces or added salt or sugars.

Whole grains. Go for fiber-rich whole grains most of the time. For instance, choose whole-wheat bread instead of white bread. Or brown rice instead of white rice.

Fish and skinless poultry. Try to eat a variety of fish at least twice a week. When roasting a whole chicken, remove the skin before carving and serving the meat.

Fat-free or low-fat dairy products. These include milk, cheese and yogurt.
And eat less:

Artery-clogging fats. Choose lean cuts of meat. Cook with vegetable oils (like canola) instead of butter. When buying snacks, read labels and skip those with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (trans fat) as an ingredient.

Sugary desserts. Save small servings of sweets (like pies or cakes) for special occasions.

Sodium. Don’t salt your food. Compare food labels, and choose foods with the least amount of sodium when buying things like lunch meats, frozen pizzas and even bread.

Tip: If the sodium amount is 20 percent or more of the daily value, that’s too high.