Celebrate American Heart Health Month!

February is not only the month for Valentine’s- it’s also American Heart Month! Many of us deal with cardiac issues every day. But did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in men and women?! The Center for Disease Control shares that every year about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these 600,000 people die from heart disease each year. The good news is that heart disease is not only controllable, but also preventable! Maple Knoll Village has its very own experts regarding heart healthy diets! Lucie Ashton, RD,N,LD has been a Dietitian for 20 years- 15 of those years have been as an employee at Maple Knoll. We talked with Lucie and gathered some tips for a heart healthy diet. They are: *Watch your portion sizes. For example: a serving of pasta should only be the size of a hockey puck; meat portions should be the size of a deck of cards. *Eat more fruits and vegetables- fresh or frozen ones are better. *Select whole grains like whole wheat bread, brown rice, high fiber cereal or oatmeal. *Limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol by using skim milk, olive oil, canola oil; and by limiting saturated and transfats in your diet. *Choose low fat protein sources: lean meats, poultry; egg whites or egg substitutes are good. *Reduce the amount of sodium (salt) in your food! Use herbs, spices and salt substitutes instead. *Plan ahead- you will do much better with your overall diet if you plan meals out ahead of time *Allow yourself an occasional “treat” or “cheat”. It can’t be about limiting yourself all the time! Lucie states that we should avoid eating at buffets/smorgasbords as they typically result in a person overeating to “get their money’s worth”. Also, she recommends limiting donuts, muffins, frozen waffles, biscuits, cakes or items in vending machines. One should also avoid hot dogs and sausages; egg yolks, liver, fried foods and breaded meats as those are counterproductive to a heart-healthy diet. Following these tips is one step towards a healthier heart!
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