4 Tips for a Healthy Heart

If you have diabetes, or have been diagnosed with prediabetes, your risk of cardiovascular disease significantly increases. There are so many resources out there that it can become overwhelming very quickly! Let’s explore four simple tips you can start incorporating into your eating plan that will keep your heart healthy and strong.

#1: Limit Sodium Intake

Too much salt in your diet can lead to high blood pressure and heart issues. You can avoid high sodium foods by preparing your meals at home more often and monitoring the amount of salt you add. But often, high sodium culprits can appear in spice blends you buy at the grocery store, canned or prepared foods, even condiments. Be sure to look at labels to determine sodium levels in foods you eat. According to the American Heart Association, you should limit your salt intake to 2300 mg or less per day, which equals to about 1 teaspoon or less. If you also have high blood pressure, that number drops to 1500 mg or less per day.

#2: Be Selective with your Proteins

Protein helps build muscles. It’s the centerpiece of the majority of our meals. Sources of protein can include: seafood, meat, chicken, turkey, lentils, beans, peas, nuts, seeds, soy products such as tofu, eggs, and dairy products, like milk and yogurt. For heart health and overall well-being, focus on proteins that are “lean” or “low fat”. Limit processed proteins such as bacon, hot dogs/sausages, and high fat meats.

You can find diabetes friendly recipes on our website here.

#3: More Fruits and Vegetables

Incorporating more whole foods into your diet has so many positive effects, from heart health to gut health. When shopping for fruits and vegetables, select the freshest options by buying fresh produce “in season” which can be less expensive. Frozen, canned, or dried fruits and vegetables can also be great options.

#4: Fuel with the Right Liquids

One of the best (and most simple) things you can do for your heart and overall health is to fuel your body with the right liquids. This means more water, and water-rich foods (like certain fruits and vegetables). Limit your amount of alcohol, sugar-filled sodas, and caffeinated beverages.

When you drink more water, you decrease your risk of dehydration, which can impact everything from your heart to your motor functions (movement, speech). How much water you drink per day is individualized, but aiming for at least 8 cups of water per day is a good place to start.

By incorporating these tips into your daily routine, you will be on your way to better heart health and lower your chance of cardiovascular issues in the future. Remember, it’s progress and small changes every day that will lead to the best outcomes.