​Help Control Heart Disease with Your Diet

Tips from UPMC Health Plan

Salad.Your doctor just told you that you have heart disease. Suddenly, you are looking at the world through new eyes and you realize everything you eat has a direct impact on your health. The last thing you want is to go through a life-and-death health crisis, like a heart attack. The good news is that taking simple steps, like being more aware of what you eat, can help you control your heart disease. Here are some guidelines for heart-healthy eating:

Reduce fat and cholesterol intake. Stick to limited amounts of healthy fats mono- and polyunsaturated.

Choose low-fat protein sources. Lean meat and poultry, low-fat dairy products, and egg whites are great sources of protein. Fish is a good alternative, especially when it contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Eat more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains are good sources of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and fiber. They are often low in calories, too.

Reduce sodium in your diet. Aim to eat less than 2,300 mg of salt per day. Some people — African Americans, middle-aged and older adults, and people with high blood pressure — need less than 1,500 mg per day.

Practice moderation. Overeating is a direct contributor to weight gain, which can lead to high cholesterol and heart disease. Keep track of what you eat, learn to recognize when you’ve had enough, and realize that restaurants serve much more than you need to eat.

Make a habit of keeping these five rules in mind, and soon you’ll be thinking more about your heart and less about your stomach when it comes to meal time.

For more health tips, visit UPMC Health Plan.

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