Heart Health: Eating to Keep your Heart in Top Shape


By Sarah Hyett, Prevention and Screening Services - February 9, 2019

Nine out of ten Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Fortunately, approximately 80% of premature heart disease and stroke can be prevented through healthy living – including a healthy diet.

Registered Dietitian Sheri Maltais believes that heart-smart eating doesn’t have to be complicated. “Keep eating simple. Instead of focusing on single nutrients, the overall quality of what you eat matters more. Choosing whole, unprocessed foods can help decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke,” she said. “Avoiding ultra-processed foods is a great general guideline since these foods often have nutrients removed and replaced by saturated and trans fats, sodium and added sugar. Your heart deserves better than that.”

Here are some tips for choosing healthy whole foods:

  1. Choosing whole grains such as whole grain bread, barley, oats, quinoa, brown rice, bulgur and farro.

  2. Add more vegetarian options like beans, lentils, tofu and nuts to your diet. To start, try meatless Mondays and work on increasing vegetarian options from there.

  3. Get more fibre into your diet. Foods such as avocados, oranges, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas are great for this.

  4. If choosing dairy products, opt for low-fat and no added sugar options. They have the same nutrients as their higher fat counterparts.

In addition to what you eat, how you eat matters too. Maltais suggests that once you’ve picked out your heart healthy groceries, you should choose cooking methods that require little or no added fat such as grilling, steaming, baking, and boiling, instead of frying or sautéing.

If you’re interested in stepping up your health and learning more about heart healthy diets and eating habits, Sheri Maltais, Registered Dietitian and Sabrina Ada Orsini, Dietetic Intern will be presenting at the Healthy Get-Together Speaker Series, hosted by Prevention and Screening Services at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. Their session, “Heart Health: Eating to Keep your Heart in Top Shape”, will discuss general nutrition practices, food choices, nutrient information, and cooking methods to keep your heart happy.

Join Maltais and Orsini on Tuesday February 12th 7:00 to 8:00PM in Auditorium A at the Hospital. The event is free, open to everyone, and parking passes are available.

To register for the event contact Ann-Marie Cline at 684-7237. If you can’t make it to this session, feel free to view it and other recorded Healthy Get-Together sessions at: www.bit.ly/healthygettogether. This event is part of Eating Healthy Together. Eating Healthy Together aims to provide a supportive, informative, and healthy food environment for consumers at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. This is accomplished by removing ultra-processed foods and beverages to ensure nutritious items are available.

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