February is National Heart Month, so each Friday in February we will be posting an article about steps a person can take to reduce their risk of heart disease. Our featured blogger is Kristy Krause, a nurse with Agnesian HealthCare. Kristy is also our Cardiac Educator.
Nutrition labels can tell you a story about the food you are about to consume. When you read the labels, there are a lot of things to pay attention to depending on your health history, but when it comes to your heart here are a few pointers. Try to make heart healthy choices most of the time, limiting the amount of saturated fat, cholesterol and salt you eat.
Here is a quick and easy rule of thumb for eating heart healthy and reading nutrition labels; think of the number 3 - if a food had less than 3 grams of fat, less than 300mg of sodium and more than 3 grams of dietary fiber then it is probably a heart healthy choice. Too much sodium increases your blood pressure and soluble dietary fiber, such as oatmeal, nuts and apples, can help lower your LDL, or bad, cholesterol levels. A few easy foods to grab in the store with these 3 in mind are… fresh fruits and vegetables! Fill your plate up half full with fruits and vegetables at every meal, and the other half with lean protein and whole grains. Top your meal off with a glass of low fat milk and you are off to a good start towards a heart healthier lifestyle.
Good luck and happy eating!