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How to Make Heart-Healthy Food Choices

While chicken wings, pizza and soda might tempt your palate from time to time - think twice! High-fat, high calorie foods may lead to cardiovascular disease and other heart conditions. Your best weapon of defense is maintaining a healthy diet and making healthy choices.

With a few simple adjustments, you can eat your way to a healthier lifestyle:

• Load up on fruits and veggies! Eat at least 2 to 3 servings of fruit and 3 to 4 servings of vegetables per day. One serving of fruit is usually 1 piece. Vegetable servings are one cup cooked or one cup raw. 

•Cut back on high-fat foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, trans fat and saturated fat. Use liquid vegetable oils rather than soft or hard margarine or shortening.
• Eat fish at least twice a week. Fish is naturally low in fat if not fried. Recent research shows that eating oily fish such as salmon, trout and herring, all of which contain omega-3 fatty acids, may help lower your risk for death from coronary artery disease. You can also get omega-3s from ground flax seeds and chia seeds. This is helpful if you are a strict vegetarian. They also add heart-healthy fiber to your diet.
• Cut back on high-cholesterol foods like eggs yolks, red meat and liver. Limit sugary beverages such as soda and juice.
• Limit alcohol intake to one drink per day for women and two for men. Red wine in moderation is a good choice.
• Read and compare food labels. Review how many servings the package contains and then look at the calories and fat per serving. Multiply the calories and fat by the number of servings you’re going to eat.
• Prepare foods with little or no added salt and aim to eat no more than 2,000 mg of sodium per day.
• Choose grilling, baking, or broiling over frying.
• Limit food portions – don’t supersize!

What's new in Heart Health?

Chia seeds are the new rage! It's a great source of healthy omega-3 fats and fiber and easy to add to your diet. Just sprinkle chia seeds on top of your meals. No worries about changing the flavor because chia sees have no taste. You can add them to your baked goods, soups, cereals and salads

Load up on Garlic! Sure, your breath may suffer but the ROI in cardiac health is worth it. New research suggests that garlic extract can stop heart disease from progressing and, in some cases, even reverse artery plaque accumulation.

Oil Olive - The main type of fat found in olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) - considered a healthy dietary fat. By replacing saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats such as MUFAs and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs), you may lower your risk of heart disease by improving related risk factors. MUFAs have also been found to lower your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and may also help normalize blood clotting.

For heart-healthy recipes you can incorporate into your daily menu, visit healthlibrary.barnabashealth.org.

For more suggestions to stay heart-healthy or make an appointment with
one of New Jersey’s top cardiologist, visit rwjbh.org/heart.