You just saw your St. Vincent Heart Center physician.
Diet and exercise recommendations were made.
Where do you begin?
Behind the scenes throughout the St. Vincent system are 300 associates, a mix of St. Vincent nurses, patient educators, certified dietitians, cardiac rehab specialists and social workers, all passionate about their work. Every person's diet and lifestyle choices are your own. For that reason, think about modifying your daily diet by reducing sodium (salt) and sugar-laden foods, avoiding high-fat foods and drinking more water -- all healthier choices, plus getting daily activity.
That's not easy to do when you aren't feeling your best. Plus, it's not going to happen overnight. Try these ideas, a year's worth, one at a time.
Our Heart Center team members are here to help you reach your goals. To schedule an appointment with a team member call 317-583-5151.
- January: Start the year out by cleaning the food pantry. Swap refined foods—such as white bread, pasta, and rice—for their whole grain counterparts (100% whole wheat bread, long grain and wild rice, basmati rice, and whole oats) to boost your fiber intake for optimal heart and digestive health.
- February: Think about selecting a rainbow diet of fruits and vegetables (blue, purple, orange, yellow, red and green). They contain unique photochemicals that support and promote good heart health.
- March: Hide the salt shaker, and add herbs and spices instead to season your food. Controlling high blood pressure is a necessary for a healthier heart. The DASH diet and other variation can make a difference.
- April: Look for heart healthy fats and use them instead. Cook with extra virgin olive oil and canola oil. Jazz up your salad with nuts and seeds, rich in omega-3 fats and fiber such as almonds, walnuts and sunflower seeds). Add milled or freshly ground flax seeds to your morning oatmeal or cereal. Add any of these to your bowl of Greek yogurt. Snack on pistachios and almonds. It’s easier than you think.
- May: Read the food labels on processed food. Bypass foods high in saturated fat and trans-fats (referred to as hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated). Your daily calorie intake should include no more than 7% saturated fats and 1% transfats.
- June: Try plank grilling with fish fillets. The American Heart Association recommends 2,3-oz servings of fish a week. Just remember to soak the (cedar, cherry, hickory or maple) plank in water for 3-4 hours before grilling.
- July: Pack smart snacks for day trips (nuts, whole pieces of fruit, low-fat yogurt, low-fat cheese, whole grain crackers and granola bars with a low sugar content). Carrots and other vegetables are great choices as well.
- August: Need a chocolate fix. Opt for dark chocolate over milk chocolate. Dark chocolate should have 65 percent cacao content. The polyphenols in this kind of chocolate support a healthy heart. But, like all good things, moderation is important.
- September: It's apple picking time; try a new variety of apple, loaded with pectin and vitamins. Visit your local farmer’s market or one of the many apple orchards in the area.
- October: Swap out your regular dinner plate for a smaller one. Be mindful of portion sizes. Most portion sizes are equal to the size of your palm, or about ½ cup. When you’re eating out, ask for a half portion. Most restaurants serve portions equal to two or three times a recommended portion size.
- November: Enjoy afternoon tea. Tea, especially white and green teas, are good sources of antioxidants (anti-inflammatory properties). Sipping tea is so relaxing that it can actually lower your blood pressure.
- December: The days are shorter now so get your rest and find a consistent sleep pattern—7-8 hours a night—is important for good physical and mental health.
(Excerpt from the St. Vincent Heart Center Blog – Jan. 2013)