Live...from the Heart
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The heart, like any other muscle, needs to be exercised regularly. Examples of exercises that condition and strengthen the heart include walking, swimming, bicycling and hiking. (Visit YOU! The Experience to both get ideas for activities and to actually get active -- as in "Get in the Action," shown above.)
There are simple things that you can do to take care of your heart. You can take walks, go inline skating or bike riding, or play sports like basketball or tennis, and everyone in your family – from newborns to grandparents – should get regular medical checkups.
Check out the following tips for grocery shopping and eating out. For more information on heart health, check out the American Heart Association website.
Tips for Healthy Grocery Shopping
- Spend most of your time in the produce section. If you don’t have time to prepare fresh produce, frozen fruits and vegetables are a great alternative.
- In the bakery section, look for whole-grain breads like ten-grain and rye. You don’t have to go cold turkey on the sweets—allow yourself to purchase one dessert each week.
- Dairy foods can have a surprising amount of fat. In the dairy section, select non-fat or low-fat milks and cheeses.
- Go fish? Some fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce the risk of heart disease. Purchase enough fish for at least two meals per week and a lean cut of meat for one meal per week.
- Read nutrition labels. According to the American Heart Association, no more than 30 percent of your daily calories should come from fat. Limit the saturated fat in your diet to no more than 15 percent of total calories.
Tips for Eating Out
- Get off to a good start! Skip the appetizer or order a fresh salad with dressing on the side or clear—not creamy—soup.
- Leave it out! Ask the server not to bring rolls, bread or crackers to the table. If you do indulge in a roll, choose whole-wheat breads and use butter or oil sparingly. Ask for your food to be cooked without added butter and oils.
- Beware the deep fryer! Ask how your food will be prepared. In general, choose foods that are steamed, baked, grilled or broiled. Stay away from fried foods.
- Skip dessert. Ask the server in advance not to bring a dessert menu or tray at the end of the meal.
- Check out fast-food facts for popular fast-food restaurants at www.fastfoodfacts.info. There are healthy items on these menus, but you may be surprised how much fat you will find in some of the other choices.
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