Friday, March 20, 2009

Pamper Your Heart

March is National Nutrition Month. It's a good time to think about making wise diet choices to keep your heart healthy. This month we can all make a commitment to take care of our cardiac health. It's easy to do if we take some simple steps every day. (This is especially important to me because I have a family history of heart disease and problems.)

1. How many calories should you eat or drink?

A simple rule--don't eat more than you can burn up every day. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity. If you can't get in 30, try for multiple 10 minute shots of activity. (Take the stairs instead of the elevator.)

2. Eat nutritional food from all of the food groups.

Choose foods like veggies, fruits, whole-grain products, fat-free or low fat dairy. Eating a variety of these foods will help control your weight and blood pressure. Whole grain foods are full of fiber which lowers your blood cholesterol and makes you feel full so you'll eat less.

3. Eat less nutrient-poor foods.

Limit foods high in calories. Limit your saturated fats,trans fats and sodium. Read labels carefully--you'd be surprised at how much sugar is in breakfast cereals. Cut back on beverages high in sugar. (drink more water) Drink alcohol in moderation.

4. Don't smoke and stay away from tobacco smoke.

I'm really trying hard to eat much healthier. My sister is a chiropractor and she advises spending more of your grocery money on fruits and veggies. At first I thought "but they can be so expensive" but now I think "I'm worth it!" I'm using fewer processed foods and enjoying the color and taste of veggies and fruits. (I've even lost some weight as a result--a nice bonus.)

If you have heart-healthy tips or recipes of your own, I'd love it if you'd share. The more we know about making healthy choices, the better. Thanks!

For more information, visit the American Heart Association website at:

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