Eat for Heart Health

By tweaking your daily food intake to include heart-healthy choices, you can make several small changes that accumulate to make a big difference in the long run. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a variety of diet and lifestyle choices to reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease (Lichtenstein et al. 2006)*. You should review your physical activity and calorie intake to ensure they are in balance. Doing so will help you reach or maintain a healthy weight. You should also strive to consume a diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain, high-

fiber foods. The guidelines also recommend consuming 8 ounces (250 g) of oily fish per week.

Another part of achieving a healthy diet is to limit your intake of saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol. Saturated fats should account for no more than 7 percent of your total calories, and trans fat for no more than 1 percent of your total calories. Limit your cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg per day. You can achieve these goals by choosing lean meats or vegetable alternatives; by selecting fat-free (skim), 1%-fat, and low-fat dairy products; and by minimizing your comsumption of partially hydrogenated fats.

Other choices that can reduce your risk of heart disease include controlling your weight by limiting your intake of beverages and foods with added sugars, choosing and preparing foods with little or no salt, and consuming alcohol in moderation (if at all). And when you dine away from home you can make reasonably healthful choices by following AHA's recommendations for eating out.

This book provides you with detailed information you can use to follow the AHA's guidelines successfully.

'Adapted from A.H. Lichtenstein et al., 2006, "Diet and lifestyle recommendations revision 2006: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee," Circulation 1 14(1): 82-96.

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