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National Restaurant Association - Ask the Nutritionist: Tips to support a healthy heart

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Ask the Nutritionist: Tips to support a healthy heart

The National Restaurant Association's Director of Nutrition and Healthy Living Joy Dubost, Ph.D., R.D., provides regular commentary on the NRA News blog. In this post, she discusses tips to help support good heart health.

According to the Center for Disease Control, about 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year– that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. It is also the leading cause of death for both men and women.  Risk factors for developing heart disease include being overweight or obese, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and other blood lipids (fats), type II diabetes, tobacco use, and lack of physical activity.

February is American Heart Month, and keeping this in mind, below are few nutrition & culinary tips to help support good heart health.

  • Since 2012, you can now find nutrition labels on packages of fresh meat. Compare calories and saturated fat. Choose the leaner cuts of meat, including at least 93% lean ground meats. Also look for the words “loin” or “round” which typically represents leaner cuts.
  • Make sure you trim any visible fats on cuts of meat. Bake, grill, broil, roast or stir fry to save on fat and overall calories.
  • Incorporate more omega 3’s into your diet. Try to eat two 4 oz. portions of fatty fish every week including albacore tuna, salmon, trout, and sardines. Also eating flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts provide a source of omega 3’s.
  • When cooking, select liquid vegetables oils, such as canola and olive oils and soft margarine instead of stick margarine or shortening.
  • Choose low-fat dairy such as 1% milk or skim milk. Select lower-fat cheese options such as reduced fat-cheddar and part-skim mozzarella. 

Overall minimizing your intake of saturated and trans fat is a good approach to ensuring better heart health. I would also like to emphasize the importance of lifestyle modification in reducing your risk of heart disease. Following a well-balanced diet, along with physical activity, can help support a healthy heart and a healthy you.

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