Ask A Dietitian: What Makes a Diet Heart-Healthy?

Ask A Dietitian: What Makes a Diet Heart-Healthy?

Have you noticed an uptick in social media posts on heart health lately? February is full of hearts thanks to Valentine's Day, but also thanks to the American Heart Association designating each February as National Heart Month to promote heart health by sharing information about heart disease like signs and symptoms, prevalence, and diet and lifestyle tips. Conditions related to heart disease like high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes are often seen in families, but heart disease also affects those without a genetic predisposition.

Incorporating more healthy habits related to diet, activity, and stress management to reduce risk of heart disease is beneficial for everyone, regardless of family history or current health status, and I've found that most people are familiar with general healthy eating guidelines like reducing saturated fat, sodium, and added sugar, and increasing fiber. Yet, many still struggle to implement the recommendations. I think this is because many equate a heart-healthy diet with bland, unsalted, fat-free foods. But bland, unsalted, fat-free foods are definitely not what my heart-healthy diet looks like.

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