Nutrition & Diets : How to Keep Your Heart Healthy

My name is Christine Marquette, and I’m a
registered and licensed dietitian with the Austin Regional Clinic and I’m going to talk
to you about how to keep your heart healthy. There’s several major components to keep in
mind in keeping your heart healthy. As far as your nutrition is concerned, one of the
major aspects is sodium or salt. You want to really limit your sodium intake, sodium
has been shown to increase blood pressure in a lot of people. So you want to make sure
to keep your heart healthy, you keep your blood pressure normal. So for that reason,
try to avoid using excessive amounts of processed foods, things like frozen dinners, canned
soups, box dinners like macaroni and cheese or Rice-a-Roni. Those tend to be very high
in sodium. So you want as much as you can to actually prepare more of your own meals.
Also really limit fast food, that tends to have a lot of excessive sodium in it. When
you are cooking make sure you use just very small amounts of salt when you’re actually
preparing your food, and try not to add any additional salt once you’ve already prepared
the food. Another aspect of heart health is fat. Whenever you have fat you want to make
sure it is the heart healthy kind of fat. Heart healthy fat is monounsaturated fat,
for example fat in avocado, in olives, in olive oil or canola oil, or nuts or seeds.
Those are a lot of the sources of monounsaturated fats. Omega three fats are the other major
polyunsaturated fat that is very heart healthy, and omega three fats are found primarily in
seafood, also in small amounts in nuts and seeds, eggs may have some omega three fats
in them, as well as flax seed. So the healthy fats as well as low sodium, those are two
major things to keep in mind. A third major thing is potassium. Potassium actually helps
counterbalance sodium, so you want to make sure you’re getting a lot of high potassium
foods. Some sources of high potassium include fruits such as apricots, cantaloupe, oranges
and bananas. Other items – avocados actually have a lot of potassium in them, potatoes,
tomato sauce, and from the dairy group, yogurt and milk. So there’s a wide variety foods
that you include that have a lot of potassium. So try to have a lot of potassium, limit your
sodium, include your healthy fats, nutrition-wise those are the major aspects for your heart
health. The other component is physical activity, you want to make sure that you’re doing some
type of aerobic or cardiovascular activity, something that gets your heart beating a little
bit faster, so that will be things like walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, all of those activities
will strengthen your heart muscle. Major things to keep in mind again, your physical activity,
nutrition wise, healthy fats, low sodium and high potassium.

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