Eat Smart and Start Walking for Heart Health

Take 10,000 steps a day for a stronger, healthier heart

| Feb 1, 2005

Did you know that two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke? For people with diabetes, the risk of heart attack or stroke is great. That’s why your healthcare team promotes good blood glucose, blood pressure and lipid control as key steps in prevention.

Eating foods with less total fat (especially saturated fat) and sodium can help keep your lipid and blood pressure levels in the optimal ranges.

Take 10,000 steps a day for a stronger, healthier heart

Eating “heart smart” can help lower your risk of stroke and heart problems. However, regular physical activity is a vital component of staying well and keeping fit. Slip on a pedometer and try for any combination of 10,000 steps a day.

This February, give yourself a big Valentine hug and take good care of your heart.

For more information on reducing your risk of heart disease or stroke, order the free “Diabetes Survival Guide” from the American Diabetes Association and the American College of Cardiology.

To order, call (800) 342-2383 or visit

And for more information on current lipid guidelines, visit

Heart-Healthy Restaurant Dining

How can you dine out, enjoy your meal, yet keep your heart healthy and happy, too?

  1. Choose a restaurant that concentrates on foods prepared by grilling, baking, broiling or poaching.
  2. Look for menu offerings that include fresh fruits and vegetables.
  3. Order from the children’s or senior’s menu, as they are usually smaller-sized portions.
  4. Ask for the butter, margarine, dressings and sauces to be served on the side.
  5. Split an entrée with your dining partner.
  6. Ask about “light” entrées and appetizers.
  7. Order salad dressing on the side and dip the lettuce in the dressing instead of pouring it over the salad.
  8. Remember, you don’t have to clean your plate! Take leftovers home and enjoy them for lunch the next day.

Cooking for a Healthy Heart

There are many ways to reduce the fat and sodium content of your foods while cooking. Here are some ideas:

  1. Bake, broil, poach or grill meats. These low-fat cooking methods allow fat to drain from the meat.
  2. Use pans with nonstick surfaces, and don’t add fat when cooking.
  3. Prepare pans with vegetable spray instead of greasing with shortening or lard.
  4. Skim the fat off of gravies and sauces; trim the fat and skin from meats and poultry.
  5. Use skimmed milk instead of whole or low-fat milk.
  6. Strive for nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

How to Shop for Heart-Healthy Meals

Many of our primary food choices are made at the supermarket. Here are some tips for filling your grocery cart:

  1. Cruise the perimeter of the store and stock up on fresh produce, meats and fish, low-fat dairy and bakery products.
  2. Choose items with less than 300 mg sodium and 25 percent fat per serving.
  3. Make a shopping list and stick to it.
  4. Shop on a full stomach— you’ll be less enticed by food displays and impulse items.
  5. If you keep snack chips on hand, choose small packages and buy the lower-fat, baked products.
  6. Stock up on high-fiber cereals or oatmeal for breakfast.
  7. Try a “heart smart” margarine like Benecol, Take Control or another brand that contains no trans fats.
  8. Eat fish twice a week.
  9. Avoid foods with partially hydrogenated fats listed in the ingredients. Foods made with partially hydrogenated fats create trans fats, which will be listed on all food labels starting in 2006.

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Categories: Diabetes, Diabetes, Food, Nutrition Advice

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