Take heart: eating a heart healthy diet may be easier than you realize. Here, from the experts at the American Heart Association, are a few tips and tricks that may help:
- Eat a sensible diet, low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat or fat-free milk products. Look for the American Heart Association’s heart-check mark on food product packaging to help you identify foods that meet the nutritional criteria of the association’s food certification program for healthy people over the age of two.
- Cook using low-fat, low cholesterol recipes such as those found in the association’s cookbooks. These books follow the association’s dietary guidelines, which promote a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fiber. One cookbook, called American Heart Association Meals in Minutes Cookbook, is handy when you don’t have much time to cook. The new American Heart Association Low-Fat and Luscious Desserts cookbook is filled with dozens of mouth-watering, guilt-free taste-temptations. The books are available at local bookstores.
- You can also get more American Heart Association recipes online at www.deliciousdecisions.org. This Web site offers tips for eating out, grocery shopping and suggestions for heart-healthy ingredient substitutions to help make your favorite recipes better for your heart.
- Get help and motivation to eat heart healthy with the American Heart Association’s new One Of A KindSM personalized health management program (www.onelife.ameri canheart.org). Through a detailed online questionnaire, the program gives you a personal risk assessment and then customizes information to help you make changes in your life to reduce your risk for heart attack and stroke. In addition to helping you improve your diet, the program can help you quit smoking, get more physical activity and manage your high blood pressure or cholesterol. The program is free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week via its specially-secured, confidential Web site, www.onelife.americanheart.org.