Diet and Nutrition

Nutrition News

Fall Produce and Family Friendly Recipes

by Kari McDonnough, CDM, Director of Dietary Services and Nutrition
Fall means new classes, new activities and sports, new schedules and a shift to colder weather foods. Regardless of age, having the right fuel — even better if it comes from produce that's at its peak — is key to helping kids do their best. click here


Heart Healthy Grilling Time

by Kari McDonnough, CDM, Director of Dietary Services and Nutrition
Here are some grilling safety tips and healthy nutrition options. click here


Whole Grains

Healthy, Convenient, Delicious
It's easy to make at least half your grains whole, with delicious, convenient options like these at every meal. click here


Eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet is an important part of maintaining a healthy heart. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains can help you reduce your risk for heart disease.

The Importance of Proper Nutrition

Your diet can play an important part in the development or worsening of heart and vascular disease. It can contribute to important risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high triglycerides, obesity, and diabetes.

A healthy diet and lifestyle are your best weapons to fight cardiovascular disease. It's not as hard as you may think! Remember, it's the overall pattern of your choices that counts. Make the simple steps below part of your life for long-term benefits to your health and your heart.

Eat a variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups.

You may be eating plenty of food, but your body may not be getting the nutrients it needs to be healthy. Nutrient-rich foods have vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients but are lower in calories. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables may help control your weight, cholesterol and your blood pressure.

To get the nutrients you need, eat a dietary pattern that emphasizes:

  • Fruits, vegetables,
  • Whole grains,
  • Low-fat dairy products,
  • Poultry, fish and nuts,
  • While limiting red meat and sugary foods and beverages.

Many diets fit this pattern, including the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan and diets suggested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the American Heart Association. Eating patterns can be adapted based on your cultural and food preferences and nutrition therapy for medical conditions such as diabetes.

Eat less of the nutrient-poor foods.

The right number of calories to eat each day is based on your age and physical activity level and whether you're trying to gain, lose, or maintain your weight. You could use your daily allotment of calories on few high-calorie foods and beverages, but you probably wouldn't get the nutrients your body needs to be healthy. Limit foods and beverages high in calories but low in nutrients. Also limit the amount of saturated fat, trans fat and sodium you eat. Read Nutrition Facts labels carefully — the Nutrition Facts panel tells you the amount of healthy and unhealthy nutrients in a food or beverage.

As you make daily food choices, base your eating pattern on these recommendations:

Choose lean meats and poultry without skin and prepare them without added saturated and trans fat.

  • Eat fish at least twice a week. Recent research shows that eating oily fish containing omega-3 fatty acids (for example, salmon, trout, and herring) may help lower your risk of death from coronary artery disease.
  • Select fat-free, 1 percent fat and low-fat dairy products.
  • Cut back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans-fat in your diet.
  • To lower cholesterol, reduce saturated fat to no more than 5 to 6 percent of total calories. For someone eating 2,000 calories a day, that's about 13 grams of saturated fat.
  • Cut back on beverages and food with added sugars.
  • Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt. To lower blood pressure, aim to eat no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day. Reducing daily intake to 1,500 mg is desirable because it can lower blood pressure even further.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. That means one drink per day if you're a woman and two drinks per day if you're a man.
  • Follow the American Heart Association recommendations when you eat out, and keep an eye on your portion sizes.

Eat a Heart Healthy Diet:

  • Fruits and vegetables: At least 4.5 cups a day
  • Fish (Preferable oily fish): At least two 3.5-ounce servings a week
  • Fiber-rich whole grains: At least three 1-ounce-equivalent servings a day
  • Sodium: Less than 1,500 mg a day
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages: No more than 450 calories (36 ounces) a week

Other Dietary Measures:

  • Nuts, legumes and seeds: At least 4 servings a week
  • Processed meats: No more than 2 servings a week
  • Saturated fat: Less than 7% of total energy intake

Source: www.americanheart.org

Manage Your Weight

Being overweight or obese increases your risk for diabetes. But if you already have diabetes, being overweight makes it harder to manage your diabetes, and increases your risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease (the major cause of death among people with diabetes).

How do I know if I am overweight or obese?

Your body is made up of water, fat, protein, carbohydrates and various vitamins and minerals. If you have too much fat — especially in your waist area — you're at a higher risk for high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

How do I lose weight?

The first step is to talk to your doctor. Based on your health and current abilities, he or she will recommend modest lifestyle changes related to diet and physical activity. Physical activity is an important part of losing weight. It also improves insulin sensitivity and glycemic control. The amount of activity you begin with is up to you and your doctor, but the duration and frequency should generally increase to at least 30 to 45 minutes of moderate aerobic activity at least three to five times a week, or more. Greater levels may be required to achieve long-term weight loss.

Source: www.americanheart.org

We Can Help

Nutrition Services offers outpatient nutrition counseling to help you manage heart disease and improve your diet. With this outpatient service, you will meet with a registered, licensed dietitian and discuss how to best manage your particular health concern with nutrition. Your doctor may refer you to this outpatient service or you may schedule a consultation by calling 214.820.7733.

For more information on making healthier food choices, please visit: www.choosemyplate.gov/myplate/index.aspx.

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