Healthy Tips

February 1, 2019

5 Delicious Ways to Help Prevent Heart Disease

5 Delicious Ways to Help Prevent Heart Disease

Whether you want to prevent heart disease from happening, or you want to reverse damage that has already been done, here are some ways to get your eating habits on track for a healthy heart.

Control Your Portion Size

How much you eat is just as important as what you eat. An easy way to start taking control of your diet is to pay attention to serving sizes. A serving size is a specific amount of food, defined by common measurements such as cups, ounces or pieces. For example, one serving of pasta is about 1/3 to 1/2 cup. A serving of meat is about 2 to 3 ounces.

Use a small plate or bowl to help control your portions. Eat less than you think you’ll want at first, knowing you can get seconds if you’re still hungry later.

Eat More Vegetables and Fruits

As you start to eat smaller portions, also make sure the majority of what you eat is vegetables and fruits. Not only are these usually a good source of vitamins and minerals, but they’re low in calories and high in fiber. This will help you feel full faster and longer so you’re less likely to fill up on unhealthy foods. Plant based foods also contain substances that help prevent heart disease.

Fruits and vegetables to choose 

  • Fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits
  • Low-sodium canned vegetables
  • Canned fruit packed in juice or water
  • Coconut

Fruits and vegetables to limit

  • Vegetables with creamy sauces
  • Fried or breaded vegetables
  • Canned fruit packed in heavy syrup
  • Frozen fruit with sugar added

Select Whole Grains

Whole grains are good sources of fiber and other nutrients that play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health. Make sure the product says 100% whole wheat or whole grain. Breads with whole wheat included, or products like honey wheat, are not the same thing.

Grain products to choose:            

  • Whole-wheat flour
  • Whole-grain bread
  • High-fiber cereal with 5 g or more fiber in a serving
  • Whole grains such as brown rice, barley and buckwheat
  • Whole-grain pasta
  • Oatmeal (steel-cut or regular)

Grain products to limit or avoid:

  • White, refined flour
  • White bread
  • Frozen waffles
  • Doughnuts
  • Cakes
  • Pies
  • Egg noodles
  • Buttered popcorn

Choose Low-Fat Protein Sources

Lean meat, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products, and eggs are some of your best sources of protein. But be careful to choose lower fat options, such as skim milk rather than whole milk and skinless chicken breasts rather than fried chicken patties.

Legumes — beans, peas and lentils — also are good sources of protein and contain less fat and no cholesterol, making them good substitutes for meat.

Proteins to choose:          

  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Fish, especially fatty, cold-water fish, such as salmon
  • Skinless poultry
  • Legumes
  • Soybeans and soy products, such as soy burgers and tofu
  • Lean ground meats

Proteins to limit or avoid:

  • Full-fat milk and other dairy products
  • Fatty and marbled meats
  • Spareribs
  • Hot dogs and sausages
  • Bacon
  • Fried or breaded meats

Reduce the Sodium in Your Food

Eating a lot of sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Reducing sodium is an important part of a heart-healthy diet.

Low-salt items to choose:

  • Herbs and spices
  • Salt-free seasoning blends
  • Reduced-salt canned soups or prepared meals
  • Reduced-salt versions of condiments, such as reduced-salt soy sauce and reduced-salt ketchup

High-salt items to limit or avoid:

  • Table salt
  • Canned soups and prepared foods, such as frozen dinners
  • Tomato juice
  • Condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise and soy sauce
  • Restaurant meals

Your doctor will be able to tell you more ways that you can take care of your heart health. Just remember that it’s never too late to start. Talk to you doctor at your next check up to see what you can do to help in your fight against heart disease.

If you do not have a doctor and would like help finding one, UT Medical Center’s Healthcare Coordination can help. They will talk to you about what insurance you have, what type of doctor you need, and what days are most convenient for you. Call them today at 865-305-6970 to make an appointment.

For more information about heart disease, diet, or any other health topic, contact the Health Information Center. The Health Information Center is a library staffed by medical librarians and certified health information specialists. If you let us know your health information needs, we will do research for you and mail or email the results to you for free. You can call us at 865-305-9525. We also have a large collection of health books covering a variety of topics, including the following:

Heart 411: The only guide to heart health you'll ever need

The new American Heart Association cookbook

How not to die : discover the foods scientifically proven to prevent and reverse disease

Becoming a library member is free and only requires a picture ID.

The Health Information Center in located on the first floor the hospital. We have computers, printers, and a quiet place to take a break. We are open the following times:

Mon.-Thurs., 8:30 am-9 pm
Fri., 8:30 am-5 pm
Sat., 9 am-5 pm
Sun., 1 pm-9 pm