Top 5 nutrition strategies for heart health
1) Eat Regular Meals & Snacks
Eat 3 small meals and 2 power snacks each day to
keep from overeating at mealtimes. This will help
to regulate energy and appetite cues.
2) Choose Foods High in Fiber
Eating foods naturally high in fiber, especially
soluble fiber, helps lower cholesterol and creates a
feeling of fullness. Soluble fiber is found in beans,
fruits, vegetables, and grains. Increase fiber to 25-
38 grams per day.
3) Choose More Healthful Fats
Choose foods high in unsaturated fats including monounsaturated and omega-3 fats. These have been shown to lower blood pressure and triglycerides, and promote healthy blood clotting. Sources of omega-3 fats are seafood, flax seed, walnuts, and omega-3 fortified eggs. Saturated fats can raise your LDL cholesterol, lower your HDL cholesterol, and cause other health problems. Saturated fats are found in full fat dairy products, meats, lard, and tropical oils. Limit your intake to 12-15 grams per day.
4) Choose Low-Sodium
Foods high in sodium will raise blood pressure and contribute to fluid retention. Look for low-sodium products. Low-sodium foods have 140mg or less. Anything above 300mg is considered a high-sodium food. Be careful of labeling terms like ‘reduced sodium’ vs ‘low-sodium’ or ‘no added salt’. The daily goal for sodium is 1500-2300 mg per day.
5) Limit Empty Calories
Sugar provides “empty calories” and can raise blood sugar quickly, leading to a relatively quick crash in blood sugar causing you to want to eat sooner. Women should keep added sugar intake to 25g or less and men 36g or less, per day.
Alcohol also provides “empty calories” in addition to contributing to elevated triglycerides and increased blood pressure. If you drink, do so in moderation 1 drink/day for women and 2 drinks/day for men.
The Kendall Reagan Nutrition Center is in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.