It should come as no surprise as that as we get older, some of the foods we eat don’t digest the same way they used to when we were younger. Not only that, but we need to be more conscious about the foods we put in our body. A healthy diet and lifestyle can reduce your risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke.
To eat well, think about adding more nutrient dense foods to your diet. These types of foods are generally lower in calories and contain a lot of good nutrients. You’ll want to keep your eye out for foods that contain vitamins & minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats. These nutrient rich foods include:
· Fruits and vegetables
· Fish, chicken and meat
· Low-fat or fat free dairy products
· Grains and whole grains
· Limited amount of solid fats
· Limited amounts of cholesterol, salt and added sugars
According to the American Heart Association, it’s best to limit your intake of foods high in calories or low in nutrition, such as soda, candy or any foods that contain a lot of sugar.
Now, one of the harder things to do when attempting to make a dietary change is eat less sodium (salt). Again, the American Heart Association suggests that we eat less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day (about 1 teaspoon of salt per day). Since many of the foods we eat already contain sodium, one of the easiest things you can do is put the salt shaker away and avoid adding salt to the food you are eating. Also limit prepared foods that have salt added to them, such as canned soups and vegetables, cured meats, and some frozen meals. Remember to always check the nutrition label for the sodium content per serving.
One strategy we recommend when going shopping at the grocery store is to “walk the perimeter”. This is typically where grocery stores place their produce, dairy and meats. Doing this will help you avoid walking up and down the aisles for items that may be tempting, but not necessarily good for you.
Now, as for exercising, we’ve got one thing to say: exercise regularly. This doesn’t mean you need to head to the gym and start lifting weights. Just put some gym shoes on and take a walk. Most doctors will tell you to walk for at least 30 minutes per day. It may not seem like a lot, but your body will thank you for it.
Talk to your doctor or a dietitian about healthy eating. Also, the American Heart Association is a great resource for health tips, advice and information about diet and heart disease.