"The stomach carries the heart, and not the heart the stomach." -- Miguel de Cervantes
I think that Cervantes had it about half right. It's true that what we eat directly impacts our heart health. But we also rely on a healthy heart to enjoy life's pleasures, which should definitely include eating good foods. How we shop and prepare our food makes a huge impact on our health.
So what can you do to make sure you're on the right track?
Here are three tips to get you started.
1. Clean out your pantry. Do it today, and try it at least once a month. Go through your fridge and even that old freezer in the garage, too. Take stock of what you've got, and what you don't need. Focus on purging processed foods, foods with trans fats, and food products that contain high fructose corn syrup. While throwing away food of any type is less than ideal, it's important to recognize that most of these products aren't real food, anyway. Get rid of them, and start fresh next time you go shopping.
2. Read food labels. Think of reading food labels as having a free dietitian at your disposal. First, determine what the actual serving size of your food item is supposed to be. You might be amazed to learn that you have been drinking two servings of your favorite soda in one bottle, or that the bowl of cereal you usually pour for yourself was meant for three. Second, look at the trans fats listing. It should read zero. Next, look for fancy lingo on your label. A good example is "partially hydrogenated," which is a term that companies use sometimes to sneak small amounts of trans fats into their products. Finally, look for foods low in sodium. It turns out that processed foods provide about 80% of the sodium in our diets. You can make a great improvement in your diet by choosing low-sodium or sodium-free options.
3. Outsmart the supermarket. When grocery shopping, have you ever wondered why you could never find a decent tomato? But it's so easy to find candy bars, frozen pizzas, and even tabloid magazines. It's called "market research." Supermarkets understand all too well how their customers walk through stores, and how this can impact their buying habits. We tend to start our shopping on the right side of the store, swing around the back, and then head toward the checkout line through the middle. This is why so many cheap ("cheap" from the supermarket's perspective) convenience foods are in the center aisle, and the candy is prominently displayed as you swipe your credit card. It can be harder to find some of the healthier foods that have a lower profit margin. The solution is to attentively shop from a list and to avoid any impulse purchases. People don't tend to buy quinoa and steel-cut oats when they're in a hurry...
This answer should not be considered medical advice...This answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.
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