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Making heart-healthy food choices does not mean you have to sacrifice flavor. The key is to include more fresh produce, whole grains, beans, lean meats, fish, and low-fat dairy.
Reduce the amount of fat in your dairy. Whole-fat dairy products are high in saturated fat. But there are healthier options.
Experiment. If a recipe calls for whole milk, you can usually replace most or all of the volume with skim or low-fat milk with no reduction in final quality.
Try meat substitutes with your meals.
Choose lean meats. They have less fat and are better for your heart. When selecting and cooking lean meats:
Prepare meat as just a part of the meal, rather than the main attraction. For example, stir fry pork with broccoli and serve over brown rice. Along with the meat, you get a serving of vegetable and whole grain.
To cut back on salt, stock your kitchen with low- or no-salt prepared sauces, soups, canned foods, or mixes. Instead of salt, season your food with:
White flour, white rice, and other refined grains have been stripped of their nutrients. You often find them in foods that are high in sugar, sodium, and fat.
Whole grains are loaded with fiber and nutrition. They can help lower cholesterol in your blood and make you feel full longer. As you shop for food, read labels for fat and sugar content. Be on the look out for:
Too much sugar in your diet typically means many calories without many nutrients. To keep your weight in check and your heart healthy, limit the sugar you eat.
Baked Salmon Dijon
Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Vegetarian Spaghetti Sauce
Source: Your Guide to Lowering Your Blood Pressure with DASH, U.S. Health and Human Services.
Eckel RH, Jakicic JM, Ard JD, et al. 2013 AHA/ACC guideline on lifestyle management to reduce cardiovascular risk: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014;63(25 Pt B):2960-2984. PMID: 24239922 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24239922.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 - 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/resources/2015-2020_Dietary_Guidelines.pdf. Updated December 2015. Accessed July 12, 2018.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Your guide to lowering your blood pressure with DASH. www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/heart/new_dash.pdf. Updated April 2006. Accessed July 13, 2018.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 4/23/2018
Reviewed By: Emily Wax, RD, The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Brooklyn, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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