Affinity Health Plan

  • Health Awareness Series: February 2017 - Heart Healthy Food Choices

    February 06, 2017

    Did you know that heart disease is preventable? Many cases of heart disease, which can lead to heart attacks or strokes, can be avoided through lifestyle changes. These changes include eating a heart-healthy diet and keeping your weight at a level that’s best for you.

    Here are several ways to start eating healthy:

    • Plan your meals and control your portion size: how much you eat is just as important as what you eat.  Smaller portions are the way to go. Start using a measuring cup or spoon. You’ll eventually learn what the right portions are. A serving of pasta is only half a cup. A serving of meat, fish or chicken is about the size and thickness of a deck of cards.
    • Eat more vegetables and fruits.
      Fill your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid fried or breaded vegetables, and anything with added sugar (like marshmallows with yams) or creamy sauces.
    • Select whole grains. They are good sources of fiber and other nutrients that help regulate blood pressure and heart health.Choose whole-grain breads and cereals that have five or more grams of fiber. Always check the list of ingredients on labels.
    • Limit unhealthy fats and avoid extra salt (sodium).
      Stay away from many fast foods and packaged snacks and meals that are high in saturated and trans fats and salt. Cook your own meals, and try to flavor your cooking with herbs and spices instead of salt.
    • Choose low-fat protein sources (like lean meat, poultry and fish), low-fat dairy products and eggs.
      Some fish, like salmon, tuna and mackerel, are high in omega-3 fatty acids that may help avoid heart disease and stroke. Stay away from fried foods.
    • Allow yourself an occasional treat.

    What’s important is that you eat healthy food most of the time. Remember to eat slowly and to stop when you’re full.

    Changing how you eat is not easy. Make small changes at first, like skipping that second helping of dinner or taking half a cup of rice instead of one cup. Use herbs and spices instead of salt or sauces. Build on those small changes and you’ll soon be eating Heart Healthy!

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