On this last post for Heart month, I thought it might be prudent to revisit the term “Heart-Healthy”. What exactly does it mean? Sadly, in many instances it has become a marketing gimmick. So, please, don’t be fooled by the usage. As a consumer, eating “Heart-Healthy” means that you need to read the labels before you buy. Being “Heart-Healthy” means that you should adopt healthy eating habits, i.e. vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fish, legumes, nuts, etc. It means you should limit sweets, desserts, sugary drinks, red meats and processed foods. You should also reduce your consumption of saturated fats, sodium and sugar. Make nutrient-rich choices, instead! You’ll be glad that you did!
Canned foods are high in sodium. Did you know that? Frozen foods are too. In fact, about 70% of our sodium intake comes from packaged and prepared foods. While these products are convenient, they aren’t necessarily the healthiest of choices. Know the “Daily Value” of the products that you are buying. Think of it as a tool to finding healthier choices. Read the Nutrition Facts Label. It’s also important to pay attention to serving-size. The accepted rule-of-thumb for sodium is that 5% DV or less per serving is low. And 20% DV or higher is much too high.
The American Heart Association as well as the American College of Cardiology endorse the DASH diet (which limits sodium and reduces blood pressure) and the Mediterranean diet (which has been proven to improve cardiovascular health). Both can be found in the reference links, below. Both are considered “Heart-Healthy”. And fresh is always best!
This isn’t difficult. We aren’t talking quantum physics, here. We are talking about sensible, healthy eating. Sensible portions. Wise choices. It all leads to living “Heart-Healthy”. If you glean nothing else from this post, remember this, Heart-Healthy is a way to love yourself. And you are worth it!
*Photo by Caroline Attwood on Unsplash