I know that fruits and vegetables are healthy. Should I be focusing on anything else?
Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of vitamins, minerals, and fibers. There are two types of fibers. Soluble fiber can help you decrease your cholesterol and blood pressure. It also enables you to feel fuller for longer and maintain healthy body weight. In addition, insoluble fiber helps keep your bowel regular. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure that you get both fiber types every day.
Soluble fibers include
- oatmeal and oats
- oat bran and legumes
- Apples, berries, citrus fruit
- Broccoli, whole grain, bread, and pasta
- leafy vegetables like spinach
- melons and peppers
I don’t have diabetes. Do I still need to watch my sugar intake?
Sugar can be found naturally in food like fruit and milk products and are healthy. Added sugar includes table sugar, honey, beverages, desserts, and sweetened cereals. However, eating large quantities of added sugar increase weight and the risk of heart disease. Therefore, it’s essential to limit the amount of added sugar intake.
I need to cut down on my salt intake. How do I do that?
Salt contains sodium, and overeating sodium can increase your blood pressure. Sodium is found naturally in fresh foods, but more than 75% of the sodium we eat comes from processed and packaged foods. To cut down your sodium intake, limit the amount of salt you eat by not adding any to your food at the table. When you are cooking, only add a pinch of salt, or instead of salt, try to add flavor with dried and fresh herbs such as basil, thyme, and rosemary.
The food I eat is healthy, but I am unsure how much to eat. Can you tell me? can you tell me more about heart-healthy portion sizes?
Portion control is vital for achieving and maintaining healthy body weight. A simple way to do it is to follow the plate method. First, fill up half of your plate with vegetables. A quarter of your plate should include lean protein like fish, legumes, and lean meat. The last quarter of your plate should be high fiber starchy food like whole-grain bread, brown or wild rice, multigrain pasta, potatoes with their skin still on, or corn. Then you can round off your meal with a glass of milk and some fruit for dessert.
- Gruenfelder, Catherine A. Sensory evaluation of heart-healthy foods enriched with omega-3 fats from fish oil. Diss. College of Saint Elizabeth, 2014.