01 Jun Healthy Eating Tips
Making healthier food choices isn’t as hard as it sounds! Just follow these tips for a healthy diet.
Choose healthy fats. Despite what you may have heard, some fats are actually good for you. When you use fats for cooking, choose monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil or canola oil. Avocados are also a good source of monounsaturated fat. Polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids are also healthy choices. Polyunsaturated fats are found in nuts and seeds. Omega-3 fats are found in fish such as tuna and salmon. In general, you should try to avoid trans fats. Trans fats are usually found in processed foods and snacks such as crackers or snack cakes. To see whether a food contains trans fats, look for the words “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredient label.
Go whole-grain. Whole-grain breads or pastas are higher in fiber and complex carbohydrates. Choose them instead of white breads or regular pastas for sandwiches and meals.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. They contain fiber, vitamins and minerals that are good for your body. They also add flavor and variety to your diet.
Healthier cooking methods. Baking, broiling and roasting are the healthiest ways to prepare meat and poultry. Trim any outside fat or skin before cooking. Lean cuts can be pan-broiled or stir-fried.
Don’t forget beans. Dry beans, peas, and lentils offer protein and fiber. Occasionally, try substituting beans for meat in a favorite recipe, such as lasagna or chili.
Choose low-fat dairy. Go for fat-free or low-fat versions of milk, yogurt, and cheese products. Eat no more than 4 egg yolks a week (use egg whites or egg substitutes).
Pack in protein. Eat protein–rich foods, including fish, lean meats, skinless poultry, eggs, nuts and seeds, and beans.
Try a diet. The DASH eating plan is a lifelong approach to healthy eating that is designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It encourages you to reduce the sodium in your diet and eat a variety of foods rich in nutrients that help lower blood pressure, such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium. It emphasizes vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy foods- and moderate amounts of whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts.
The Mediterranean Diet is another diet that research has shown reduces the risk of heart disease. The diet has been associated with a lower level of LDL “bad cholesterol” that is more likely to build up deposits in your arteries. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes: eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.
What should I NOT eat?
A healthy diet limits some nutrients. These include:
Sodium. Flavor foods with spices or no-salt seasonings instead of salt. Watch out for prepackaged foods, sauces, canned foods, and processed foods. They can all contain a high amount of sodium.
Saturated and trans fats. Saturated fats are found in fatty meats, poultry skin, whole-milk dairy, butter, lard, and coconut and palm oils. Tans fats are found in some desserts, microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, stick margarines, and coffee creamers. Look for the words partially hydrogenated oil on the food label.
Added sugar. Sweetened drinks, snacks, and sweet treats are the main source of added sugars in the United States. These include sodas, sweetened coffee and tea, energy drinks, cakes, pies, ice cream, candy, syrups, and jellies. Limit these types of foods and drinks.
Alcohol. Limit your intake of alcohol. Men should have no more than 2 drinks a day. Women should have no more than 1 drink per day. Too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure and cause you to gain weight. It can also contribute to or worsen heart failure in some people.
Things to consider
Healthy eating is an important part of your overall health. Unhealthy eating can increase risk of developing health problems. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, strokes and more. Even implementing small changes to your overall eating plan can help.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Changes