Five Steps to Eating Healthy on a Daily Basis
A huge component of good heart health is eating healthy. Making the right food choices and knowing what diet is best for you can be an extremely difficult challenge.
The American Heart Association® estimates $33 billion in medical costs and $9 billion in lost productivity is result of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes, which are attributed to poor nutrition. Check out these tips provided by health experts at Bronson.
Heart Health: How does healthy eating help keep my heart healthy?
"The foods that you eat directly impact your cardiovascular health,” says cardiologist Christopher Rogers, DO, at Bronson Advanced Cardiac Healthcare. Improving your diet can help you manage current health conditions, such as high cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar, and help prevent future health problems. A healthy diet can also increase your chances of survival after a heart attack by relieving pressure on your heart and circulation.”
Beginning: What are my first steps to reach a heart healthy diet?
“While there is no required way to become a heart healthy eater, keeping a food journal can be a way to get started,” says Amy Schneider, dietitian at Bronson Battle Creek Outpatient Nutrition Services. “You will need to write down everything that you are eating as well as when you are eating it during the day. Keeping track of everything you eat and drink can give you a clearer picture of your habits as they truly are, especially if you keep track of your portion sizes. How much you eat is just as important as what you eat. Try the following 5 tips, and you’ll be on your way to heart healthy eating. ”
- Use smaller plates, cups and bowls.
- Serve meals and snacks with measuring cups and/or spoons.
- Fill half your plate with colorful vegetables.
- Drink water, aiming for 48 to 64 ounces per day.
- Don't skip meals – something small is better than nothing at all.
Diet Change: What types of food should I focus on and what food should I limit?
“You should focus on a diet that consists of a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains and healthy fats,” says Diane Delhey, cardiac dietitian at Bronson Methodist Hospital. “Your primary focus should also be on limiting unhealthy fats (saturated and trans fat) and cholesterol. Limit the amount of solid fats such as butter, stick margarine and shortening, which are often added to food when you are cooking or serving. You should also trim access fat off of meats and choose lean meats. When incorporating fat into the diet, try to use monounsaturated fats (i.e. avocados, olive and canola oil), polyunsaturated fats (i.e, nuts and seeds), and omega-3 oils (i.e, fish, flax seed, avocados, and nuts). Remember, the key to eating healthy is consuming food in moderation.”
If you would like to learn more about how to eat healthy, visit the American Heart Association at heart.org. The organization also offers an interactive tool to help you build your grocery list to include certified heart-healthy foods.
For a nutrition program designed just for you, meet with a Bronson registered dietitian. Our dietitians will be able to help you separate healthy meals from fad diets and facts from fiction. Your primary care provider is also a good resource and can provide additional educational material for eating healthy.
The Bronson Heart & Vascular team is committed to heart and vascular disease prevention, and sharing easy steps you can take to live a healthier life. Looking for a Bronson doctor to help you? For a complete list of providers at Bronson, visit bronsonhealth.com/find-a-doctor or call Bronson HealthAnswers at (269) 341-7723.