Diet strategy for a healthy heart


Nancy Teeter, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Medical research has determined that chronic inflammation may be responsible for many diseases and poor health conditions associated with aging—especially heart disease.

But what is inflammation? It’s your body’s response to infection or injury. This immune response is vital to life. When the inflammation is visible and lasts a relatively short time, it is no cause for concern. But when inflammation becomes chronic and systemic, it can lead to premature aging and disease. This condition is sometimes referred to as inflammaging.

Cell damaging compounds are created as a result of the body’s metabolic processes, and the numbers increase with age. Though we can’t control aging, poor diet is one of the primary sources of these damaging agents. You can eat foods that promote inflammation, or you can choose foods that can actually neutralize the cell-damaging oxygen molecules.

Improving Heart Health Through Nutrition

Veg Out: There’s no limit to the number of servings of non-starchy vegetables you can eat, but most Americans don’t come close to eating the recommended three cups each day.

Eat Real: More often, choose foods that closely resemble how they appeared in nature. These include unstripped grains, beans, and whole vegetables and fruit (rather than juices).

Replace animal protein with whole plant-based protein: This strategy can dramatically reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Eat with Intention: Eat to satisfy true hunger and be mindful of how the food satisfies your needs. This will reduce overeating and grazing that piles on calories along with excess belly fat.

Seek Support: Sometimes it takes more than knowledge to achieve your goals. It may take a professional coach to help guide you in your health journey. Registered Dietitian Nutritionists are diet experts and make excellent health coaches.

SaddleBrooke resident Nancy Teeter, is an expert on the anti-inflammatory diet, disease prevention and gut health.