Resources: Tips for Healthy Aging at Hebrew SeniorLife

8 Ways to Improve Your Heart Health

  1. Try to keep your sodium (salt) intakes to less than 2000mg per day. Canned, jarred, and pre-packaged foods tend to be high in sodium so try and limit your intakes of these foods or buy the low sodium versions instead!
  2. Eat more fiber. This will not only help with bowel regularity, but increased fiber intakes can also   help with decreasing the bad cholesterols in your blood, decreasing your risk for heart disease.
  3. Cut the bad fats! Focus on intakes of lean meats that have less than 10% fat content, as well as low-fat dairy, such as skim or 1% milk and reduced fat cheese. Your goal is to decrease saturated fat and trans fat intakes.
  4. Pay attention to portion sizes which can lead to overall decreased intakes of high fat/high sodium foods. Some examples of appropriate portions include: ½ cup pasta, 2-3 ounces of lean meats, ¼ cup nuts.
  5. Maintain a healthy weight. This will not only decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease, but will also decrease your risk for diabetes, kidney disease, and stroke. Ask your doctor or registered dietitian what an appropriate weight is then work to shed those extra pounds!
  6. Exercise! Regular exercise can help improve your cardiovascular system which can, in turn, decrease your risk for heart disease. PLEASE SEEK ADVICE FROM YOUR PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN BEFORE STARTING A NEW EXERCISE PROGRAM!
  7. Be emotionally healthy! In some people, depression can lead to over-eating which can subsequently lead  to an increased risk of cardiac disease. Make sure to talk to your doctor about your emotional health as well as your physical health.
  8. When in doubt, seek the help of a registered dietitian! If you feel as though you need help with menu planning, grocery shopping, or weight loss in order to achieve a heart healthy diet, ask your primary care doctor for a referral to a registered dietitian that they know and trust, or go to www.eatright.org to find a registered dietitian in your area.
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