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5 Ways to Boost Heart Health With Diet

Updated: May 17, 2023

February is known as American Heart Month to bring awareness to the widespread heart disease in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “heart disease is the leading cause for men, women and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States” and “one person dies every 34 seconds in the US from cardiovascular disease”1. Aside from regular preventative healthcare, diet, and exercise are 2 of the top ways to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. So, what are some simple ways that you can improve your everyday diet?

1. Cut back on salt. High salt intake is linked with high blood pressure 2. Simple swap? Ditch the saltshaker: one teaspoon contains 2300 mg of sodium.

2. Increase your fruits and veggies. Besides being powerhouses of vitamins and minerals, fruits and vegetables contain fiber. Fiber intake is an integral part of heart health, associated with lower cholesterol levels 3. Try loading up at least half of your meal plates with vegetables!

3. Use more heart-healthy fats. Fats that contain Omega-3’s such as fish, avocados, and olive oil are better choices for heart health. This includes reduced inflammation, lower blood pressure, and lower triglycerides 4. Try swapping out butter for olive oil and consuming fish twice a week for dinner, to start!

4. Reduce added sugars in your diet. Too many sweet beverages and treats have been connected to chronic inflammation and higher blood pressure 5. Try seltzer instead of soda or reduce the amount of sugar in your coffee in the morning.

5. Exercise! Exercise has many benefits from lowering blood pressure to reducing stress hormones. The general recommendation is at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 times a week. But you can start small! Even walking once or twice a week to start can help build a healthy exercise habit.

Bottom Line

February is a great month to reflect on our usual dietary habits. Making small changes can help you to show your body how much you love it! Working with a Registered Dietitian is a great way to stay on track or start your journey to nourish your body and achieve your health goals.

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