Heart Health Nutrition 101

A woman is stirring a silver pot while cooking.

By Christine M. Conti, M.Ed.Burnalong’s Chronic Disease Fitness Specialist

When it comes to improving heart health and reducing risk of cardiovascular disease, there are NEW guidelines from the American Heart Association to improve cardiovascular health. Take a look at the most recent guiding principles to optimize your heart health nutrition.

Focus on nutrition. 

  • Maintain a healthy body weight by being aware of your caloric intake versus caloric expenditure each day.
  • Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Consume mostly whole grains instead of refined grains.
  • Focus on healthy proteins, such as: fish and seafood, plant proteins (such as legumes and nuts), low-fat or fat-free dairy products, and lean cuts of meat or poultry (avoid processed deli meats).

Think about what to eat as well as what to avoid. 

  • Cook with liquid plant oils (olive oils or vegetable oils). Steer away from tropical oils like coconut, palm, and animal fats, such as butter and lard, as well as partially hydrogenated fats.
  • Avoid ultra processed foods. Instead, choose minimally processed ingredients.
  • Reduce your consumption of food and drinks with added sugars.
  • Cut down on cooking and consuming foods with extra salt.
  • Avoid alcohol (or limit your intake).

*As a reminder, whether you’re dining out or cooking from scratch, these same tips apply!

Make sustainable lifestyle changes. 

Most importantly, the NEW guidelines place the focus on dietary patterns as opposed to recommending specific foods. This is important when considering the accessibility of certain foods when it comes to your finances and free time. If possible, try to incorporate a few of these recommendations into your diet and slowly begin to make it your lifestyle!

Looking for additional ways of incorporating healthy habits into your daily routine? Start here!

About the author:

Christine M. Conti, M.Ed.

Christine is a chronic disease fitness specialist and internationally award-winning fitness educator. She is a best-selling author, podcaster, and motivational speaker who has spent over two decades researching and studying alongside leading doctors, exercise scientists, and nutritionists to prevent and battle disease through healthy lifestyles after her own diagnosis at the age of thirty. Christine has since authored Arthritis Fitness, Orthopedic Fitness, Fall Prevention, Chronic Disease Fitness, and Eating Disorder Fitness Awareness Specialist courses. She is also a 3x IRONMAN and 50x marathoner who is on a mission to inspire others to live healthier lives.


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