Thanks for your comments to my last post. I hate being all whiney about injuries or when running isn’t going as well as I’d like – life is pretty good, after all – but it does help to write about it every once and a while to get my frustrations out.
An appropriate mantra I’ve been using this week?
“just keep swimming. just keep swimming. just keep swiiimmmmmming.”
Appropriate on all fronts, since I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time in the pool. Even so, I’m hoping that running talk will continue soon – the hamstring is feeling pretty good, and if all is well next week I’ll probably try a few cautious miles (hooray!).
But for now I’ll just talk about nutrition stuff
This week we’ve been studying cardiovascular disease (CVD) in Medical Nutrition Therapy, and like diabetes, it’s a chronic disease that we will likely see almost every day because of how prevalent it is in this country.
this is your heart. be nice to it.
Besides planning diets low in sodium and saturated fat, high in fiber, fruits, vegetables and whole grains and learning about various heart conditions during another marathon study weekend, one thing kept jumping out at me:
The modifiable risk factors are the ones you CAN change, and the non-modifiable are the ones you can’t. I’m studying nutrition, not math, but it’s pretty clear to see the odds are actually in our favor.
Healthy eating for your heart
You don’t have to be a certain age, have any risk factors or other chronic diseases to eat a heart healthy diet. If you ask me, if kind of makes sense for most of the population. I mean, it’s your heart! The thing that works 24 hours a day to keep you alive, yes?
The term “heart healthy” is all over the place lately, and you probably see these “heart check marks” on various foods in the grocery store.
But do they mean anything? And if so, what?
They do mean something! Foods labeled with the heart check mark MUST meet the following FDA standards for a single serving size:
- Total Fat: Less than 6.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 1 g or less and 15% or less total calories from saturated fat
- Trans Fat: Less than 0.5 g
- Cholesterol: 20 mg or less
- Sodium: 480 mg or less
- Beneficial Nutrients: 10% or more of the Daily Value of 1 of 6 nutrients (vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, protein or dietary fiber)
According to the American Heart Association, unsweetened popcorn is the only certifiable product in the snack category, and no desserts are eligible for certification.
I think the idea of putting these check marks on foods is a great way to help people quickly see what foods may be a little better for them than others. But this labeling still has some flaws, and in January 2014, the standards will be updated to include more limits on sugar in whole grains, yogurt, canned and frozen fruit and stricter fiber requirements for whole grains.
January 2014 is kind of a long ways away, so here’s my go-to list of heart-healthy foods that meet the old and new criteria:
- Whole wheat, sprouted grain bread
- Brown rice
- Kashi Heart to Heart
Fruits & Vegetables
- Sweet potatoes
- Bell peppers
- Brussels sprouts
- Skim milk
- Greek yogurt (0%, plain)
- Cottage cheese (low fat or fat free)
Lean meats, poultry & fish*
- Chicken breast (skinless)
- Lean turkey (95% or better)
Question: Do you consider your diet “heart healthy”? What are some of your go-to foods?