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Heart Healthy Foods

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Posted at 2:41 PM, Feb 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-19 11:06:54-05

A healthy heart is more than just good genes and exercise. The food you eat every day can have a substantial affect on the way your body protects itself. Heart disease is a very common health problem in the U.S., but there are small steps you can take to help reduce your risk.

Heart Healthy Food to Incorporate into your Diet

  • Low-fat proteins: Fish, lean poultry, beans and lentils, soy products, low-fat dairy, egg whites
  • Fruits and vegetables: Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day
  • Whole grains: Whole wheat, oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain barley, bulgur
  • Unsalted nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, sesame seeds
  • Healthy oils: Olive oil, canola oil, walnut oil, grapeseed oil

How does sodium affect the heart?

High amounts of sodium in your diet can cause high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease. Limiting your sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (about 1 teaspoon of salt) per day is ideal, unless your physician recommends otherwise.

Limiting sodium consumption each day

  • Eat fewer processed foods
  • Pay attention to sodium content on the Nutrition Facts label
  • Season your food with salt-free seasonings
  • Compare different brands
  • Remember “low calorie” foods often contain more sodium to enhance flavor