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Kaylor: Eat right for your heart

By Staff | Feb 14, 2014

Your heart’s health is important, and your diet plays a huge role in keeping your heart healthy! Answer true or false if these habits are good for your heart.

1) True or False? I eat mostly fruits and vegetables, with some whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy.

The correct answer here is true! Fruits and vegetables are nutrient-dense and calorie-light. They’re full of healthful elements like fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy are also key parts of a healthful diet.

2) True or False? I drink whole milk instead of low-fat or nonfat versions.

We hope you answered false here! Whole milk is full of saturated fat, which increases LDL (a.k.a. “bad”) cholesterol production, leads to increased plaque buildup, and may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke. Plus, the extra calories add no nutritional value and may even contribute to weight gain. Don’t choose whole when skim will do!

3) True or False? I dine in restaurants frequently, both “fast-food” and more formal “sit-down” establishments.

False. It’s better for your heart if you cook at home on most days. Restaurant meals are notoriously high in sodium, which can increase your blood pressure and harden the walls of your arteries. Furthermore, portions in restaurants are often oversized, which can lead to weight gain.

4) True or False? I exercise regularly.

The heart-healthy answer here is true! Thirty minutes of moderate daily exercise can help reduce LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol, both of which will be great for your heart. Being physically active can also reduce, prevent, or help control high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.

Make a healthful plate!

Balancing your portions is key to a healthful diet! We recommend following the advice of MyPlate, which encourages people to fill 1/2 their plates with fruits and vegetables at each meal, allowing 1/4 of the plate for lean protein and the remaining 1/4 of the plate for whole grain foods. They also recommend that you serve a bit of low-fat or nonfat dairy products on the side (think Greek yogurt or milk). So choose MyPlate today!

Heart healthy chicken sandwich

2 Tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt

2 tablespoons light mayonnaise

1/3 cup chopped celery

2 tablespoons finely chopped onions

1 (9.75 ounce can Chunk Chicken Breast in Water, drained

8 slices Whole Grain 100% Whole Wheat Bread

8 slices tomatoes

4 lettuce leaves

Stir the yogurt, mayonnaise, celery, onion and chicken in a medium bowl. Divide the chicken mixture among 4 bread slices. Top with the tomato, lettuce and remaining bread slices.

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