OhioHealth Medical Minute: Heart Healthy Eating
Heart disease is still the number one cause of death in the U.S., with a toll of close to 650,000 each year. But what many people don’t realize is just how much your diet can affect your heart health.
Alyssa Bixler, a registered dietician at the OhioHealth McConnell Heart Health Center, explains how flipping your diet may be one of the most direct ways you can lower your risk of heart problems and stay heart healthy.
As far as what you should be putting in your body, finding a way to stuff more vegetables into your daily diet is key.
“When we think about what to eat for heart health, it really is a big picture and not just one individual food that makes a heart healthy diet, but think about vegetables first,” said Bixler. “Vegetables are one of the heart-healthiest foods we could pick, and so often we forget about vegetables. We don’t plan our meals to include them, so I would challenge you to consider including vegetables as a priority in your meal.”
What about our favorite go-to snacks, like chips and popcorn? If it contains trans fats, or hydrogenated oils, it’s got to go.
“The most important thing to completely avoid are foods that contain trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils,” said Bixler. “Those can be found in some baked goods and snack foods and stick margarines, so we definitely should avoid those completely. It’s also good to limit our animal fats, especially saturated fats, so high-fat meat and processed meats are things to eat less of.”
Though it can definitely be hard to cut out so many goodies from our daily diets, it’s important to remember that almost anything can be consumed in moderation.
“I think it’s really important that you have to think about lifestyle, and that means something you can do for your whole life and that you can live with,” said Bixler. “There’s never food we can’t eat, it’s just really finding balance and focusing on what to eat and healthy foods most of the time.”
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