Heart Healthy Eating: A Guest Post by Allison Marco, Registered Dietitian

Heart Disease is the leading cause of death for Americans. Each year, nearly 715,000 people have a heart attack and 600,000 people die from heart disease in the United States. The numbers are staggering, but the good news is that heart disease is preventable.

By eating right and exercising you can greatly reduce your risk and there’s no better time to start than now. To maintain a healthy heart whether you are on Georgetown’s campus or at home, try the following.

1. Eat a nutritious diet that is high in fiber and nutrients and low in saturated fats.

  • Eat up to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily
  • Choose lean meats
    • Choose meats such as chicken, turkey and fish
    • Avoid red meats such as beef, pork and steak
  • Choose healthy fats
    • Increase intake of unsaturated fats such as avocado, olive oil and peanut butter instead of cream and butter
    • Use fats in moderation
  • Choose whole grains over refined grains as often as possible

2. Exercise regularly to maintain cardiovascular health

  • Aim to exercise at least 3-5 days per week for 30 minutes
  • Strength train 1-2x per week

3. Don’t smoke

  • Smoking increases your chances of heart disease

4. Maintain a healthy weight

  • Overweight and obesity can increase your chances of heart disease
  • Maintain a healthy weight between a normal BMI range to reduce your risk of heart disease

5. Limit alcohol intake

  • Alcohol intake can increase blood pressure and caloric intake
  • Recommendations:
    • 1 drink per day for women
    • 2 drinks per day for men

6. Limit salt intake

    • High salt intake can increase your blood pressure
    • Recommendation is 1500mg per day, which is a little more than ½ tsp!
    • Choose low salt products and forget the salt shaker

How to eat healthy on Georgetown Campus

  • Subway
    • Choose whole wheat sub (6”)
    • Choose turkey or chicken
    • Use low fat spreads such as mustard
    • Forgo the cheese and load up the vegetables
    • Skip the chips
  • Cosi
    • Choose salads with light dressing
    • Turkey, chicken or vegetable sandwich options
  • Elevation Burger
    • Veggie burger
    • No fries
    • Burger wrapped in lettuce
  • Salad Creations
    • Vegetables!
    • Reduce cheese intake
    • Low fat dressings
    • Chicken or turkey as protein
  • Epicurean
    • Salad bar
    • The 1789
    • Greek Wrap
    • Gugs Wrap
    • Sushi

 

How to eat heart healthy at restaurants

  • Choose lean meats
  • Avoid butter and heavy sauces
  • Avoid fried foods
  • Choose whole grains when possible
  • Drink water
  • Ask for salad dressings on the side and choose low fat options
  • Vegetables!
  • Share food with others
  • Be mindful of portion sizes. Eat until you are satisfied, not full

 

Heart healthy eating can still be flavorful, it’s just about making smart choices! Try changing habits slowly. Add a few new behavior changes a week and make sure whatever you try is maintainable for your lifestyle. Eat right for a healthy heart.

 

*** Guest Post by Allison Marco, MS, RD, LDN, Registered Dietitian, Georgetown University***

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8 responses to “Heart Healthy Eating: A Guest Post by Allison Marco, Registered Dietitian

  1. Thank you for these wise advice. There are plenty of fruits and vegetables in many colors, shapes, sizes that are good for our heart, they are just waiting for us to pick them up in the market. Sadly most of us prefer to go to a fast food chain to satisfy their cravings, not knowing the bad effects it cause in their health. We all need to get all the different nutrients for our heart and body, this is important to prevent heart disease in the future.

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