Fight Heart Disease with a Heart-Healthy Diet

Listen to your Heart. Get the care you need.

Grinnell, IA – February 25, 2021 –  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States claiming more than 600,000 lives each year. Among the most serious high-risk factors for heart disease is a poor diet leading to diabetes, obesity and other health complications.

Preventing heart disease starts with making a life-long commitment to developing a heart-healthy diet. In order to reduce your chances of developing heart disease, it is important to understand that simple dietary choices can have a positive influence on the whole family’s heart health. 

3 Tips for a Heart-Healthy Diet 

from a UnityPoint Health – Grinnell Regional Medical Center Clinical Dietitian

  1. Focus on a balanced overall eating pattern – are you eating a variety of nutritious foods that you enjoy throughout the week? Are you choosing whole grains over refined grains? Are you incorporating fruits and vegetables into meals and snacks?

  2. Listen to your hunger and fullness signals when you eat. If you are able, try to eat meals slowly and pay attention to how the food tastes and how much you may enjoy it. Eating more slowly can help you recognize when you start to feel full and satisfied.

  3. Cooking meals at home allows you to decide exactly what is added to your food. Enhance the flavor of your food by adding herbs, spices, black pepper and/or citrus juices. If you’re looking for simplicity, consider using a pre-mixed herb and spice blend, such as Mrs. Dash, that can be convenient way to add flavor to foods. Cooking methods like grilling, braising, roasting, searing and sautéing are good ways to preserve food’s flavor without needing to introduce a lot of extra fat. 

“If you are looking for more guidance on following a heart healthy eating pattern, I recommend referencing the Mediterranean Diet or the DASH Diet,” says Lily Swedenhjelm, MS, RDN, LD, Clinical Dietitian at UnityPoint Health® – Grinnell Regional Medical Center (GRMC). “Both of these eating patterns focus on fueling your body with nutrient rich food groups and limiting added sugars and/or processed foods that are high in sodium.”

GRMC is here to support you on your heart health journey. If you have general questions about heart health or are wanting to start a heathy diet, contact your primary care provider to start the conversation today. 

For more information about heart healthy cooking tips, guidance and recipes, visit our Nutritional Services webpage.