Maintaining a Healthy Heart

We've all heard tips on ways to maintain a healthy heart. You probably know that you should avoid smoking. You probably know that regular exercise will keep your heart in good shape. Did you know that you actually have to eat the proper foods to maintain a healthy heart?

If your goal is maintaining a healthy heart, it's time for you to adopt a healthy heart diet. Each food you eat has an influence on the way your heart functions. You can educate yourself on heart smart foods and try to incorporate them as regular components of your diet.

Although your doctor can best advise you on an eating plan that is catered toward you as an individual, eating balanced meals from the food pyramid will be a good start.

Here are some tips on eating to maintain a healthy heart:

  • Do not consume more than 30% of your calories a day from fat.
  • Less than 10 % of your total calories for the day should be from saturated fats.
  • Less than 10 % of your daily calories should be from polyunsaturated fatty acid.
  • About 10-15 % of your total calories for the day should be from monounsaturated fatty acids.
  • Try to eat organic foods or foods free of chemicals like preservatives, caffeine or MSG.
  • Limit your sodium (salt) intake to less than 3000 mg per day.
  • Limit your cholesterol to under 300 mg per day.


If this sounds confusing to you, don't be alarmed. It's not difficult to make wise food choices. The good news is that many healthy foods also taste great. If you are looking to follow the tips above and control the amount and kinds of fats and cholesterol you eat, you can simply follow some easy tips.

  • Do not eat more than 6 ounces of meat, fish, or poultry. Make sure the meat is lean and has no skin.
  • You should only allow yourself 5-8 teaspoons of fats and oils a day. Don't waste them. Use them for cooking or baking or in salad dressing.
  • Instead of hamburgers or other meat dishes, eat pasta or rice dishes with plenty of vegetables. When you want to mix in some meat, choose lean poultry or fish instead.
  • Cook with low-fat methods. Why not broil, bake, or roast rather than fry?
  • Chill soup or stew dishes before serving them so you can remove the solidified fat layer from the top.
  • When you go to the grocery store, pick up skim milk or 1% milk rather than 2% or whole milk.

If you're worried you'll still be hungry, don't be. You may be forgoing the fried chicken or hotdog, but you can still fill up on plenty of vegetables and grains. Pretty soon you'll be feeling healthier. Your heart will thank you for it.

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