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VA Connecticut Healthcare System

 

The meaning of a "heart healthy" diet

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Eating a "heart healthy" diet includes decreasing sodium, choosing healthy fats and increasing fiber

By Jessica Mooney, MS, RD
Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Eating “heart healthy” is the way to go if you are looking to improve your health or if you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease or have a family history of it.

Eating heart healthy consists of three components:

  • Decreased sodium
  • Choosing healthy fats
  • Increasing fiber

So you are told to decrease sodium, choose healthy fats, and increase fiber, but what does that mean? Here are some ideas from the American Heart Association:

  • Sodium less than 2,400 or 2,000 mg (depending on your doctor’s suggestion)
  • Choosing low-fat items
  • Switching out high-saturated fats for foods that are high in unsaturated fats
  • Consume fish weekly
  • Choose whole grains

Food producers are responding to consumers request for healthier foods.   Items with a heart present on the label are approved as a heart healthier option.

Healthier is emphasized because these items might not reach the perfect ideals of heart healthy guidelines, but they are typically the healthier option for that product.

Switching out foods, adjusting diets are all great ways to improve your diet. Every small change gets you one step closer to your long term goal of a heart healthy diet.

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