How can diet affect your health?

The foods you eat have a huge impact on your health. When you improve your eating habits, you improve your overall health. Consider these examples:

  • Fiber improves your cholesterol and blood
       sugar levels. Controlling blood sugar levels
       is important for people with pre-diabetes or diabetes.
  • Too much alcohol can increase your blood pressure, cause heart
       failure, and lead to stroke.
  • Saturated fat or cholesterol can cause plaque buildup in your arteries,
       which increases your risk for stroke and heart attack.
  • Salt or sodium -found in many canned foods, frozen dinners, and fast
       foods -can raise blood pressure for many people if you have heart
       failure. Salt can also make your symptoms worse.

What can you do?

The following are typical guidelines for a heart-healthy diet:

  • Eat more fiber -fresh vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals,
       dried beans, and oats.
  • Limit the amount of fat you eat -especially saturated fat or fat
       from animals.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation -one drink per day for women, two
       for men.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables -instead of chips or other
       snack high in cholesterol and sodium.
  • Buy foods with the American Heart association hear-check mark.
  • Limit salt intake -and check out the sodium content on the foods
       you eat.

Find out from your doctor or nurse if you should follow any special food guidelines.

Don't discount the impact that lifestyle changes can have on your health. According to the National Institutes of Health, a healthy lifestyle can help lower heart disease risk by 82%. In most cases, this means you should follow a heart-healthy eating plan, get regular physical activity, maintain a healthy weight, and quit smoking.

Please check with your doctor or nurse before starting a diet or exercise program.