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Good Nutrition - The 'Heart' of the Matter
Information provided by the American Dietetic Association: Your Link to Nutrition & Health

February is National Heart Month, when good nutrition is truly at the "heart" of the matter. A healthy heart is the result of good genes, the right food choices, plenty of physical activity and knowing how to deal with stress.

While you can't do much about your genes, regular physical activity, making the right food choices and dealing with stress are lifestyle behaviors you can control. When it comes to heart-healthy eating, one key is monitoring the type and amount of fat you consume.

Limit foods high in saturated fat, which can increase LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels. Instead, eat more plant proteins, fish, poultry and low-fat dairy foods. Cook with moderate amounts of olive or canola oil instead of butter, margarine or shortening.

Some examples of foods for heart health include:

  • Beans, peas and barley
  • Soybeans, other soy-based foods (not soybean oil)
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel
  • Red grapes and purple grape juice
  • Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts
  • Green or black tea
  • Onions, scallions, shallots, garlic and leeks.

Get active! Physical activity offers many rewards - from heart health to strong bones and stress relief. Regular, moderate activity helps keep your blood cholesterol levels normal. It helps lower blood pressure, helps your body control stress and helps control body weight as you burn calories. More vigorous exercise actually gives your heart muscle a workout, too, which ultimately helps your whole cardiovascular system work more efficiently.


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