Heart Healthy Habit Tips 3 & 4

3. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. 

Fruits and Vegetables at a Farmer's Market

Fruits and Vegetables at a Farmer's Market

Fruits and vegetables are virtually fat-free, low in calories and rich in vitamins, minerals and fibers. They can help you maintain a healthy weight plus reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. In particular, vitamin C and beta-carotene-packed produce seems to deactivate a process that can turn LDL cholesterol into a more artery-damaging form. Add vitamin C to your diet by eating more citrus fruit, broccoli, dark greens and deep yellow fruits and veggies. 

4. Limit sodium. 

Sodium is important because it is required to sustain life. Working with water, sodium keeps your body's fluids balanced and helps shuttle nutrients in and out of your cells. However, in the US, people are eating twenty to thirty times more sodium than they need. This excess sodium causes a greater risk for high blood pressure, which in turn increases the risk of a heart attack, stroke or kidney failure.

Source:  American Heart Association and American Cancer Society. Living Well, Staying Well: Big Health Rewards from Small Lifestyle Changes. Times Books, Random House, 1996. Print. 

* Disclaimer: The information presented in this piece is in no way intended as a substitute for medical counseling or physician's advice.

Liz is a Seattle University senior majoring in Sports and Exercise. She is interested in nutrition, strength and conditioning and cardiac health. "She says, "I believe that a healthy lifestyle is the best medicine for a healthy body!" Liz has interned at RHF since January 2014.