Heart-healthy nutrition tips

Released: Friday, December 09, 2016

LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center is putting science to work for a healthier Louisiana.  Our researchers and dietitians are constantly striving to assure that we are equipped with the latest in health information and that it is accessible and easy to use. Here are some heart healthy nutrition tips that research has shown can make a difference in our well-being.

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • The more colorful the better, because brightly-colored foods such as bell peppers and berries are high in cancer-fighting antioxidants.
  • Choose red, orange, and dark-green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, along with other vegetables for your meals. Veggies and fruits are naturally low in sodium.
  • Ensure you are getting enough lean protein, which is packed full of energy-supplying vitamin B12.
  • Nuts can be a great source of protein, but watch your portion size. Nuts and seeds are a concentrated source of calories. One serving of protein should be about the size and thickness of the palm of your hand.
  • Great sources of lean protein are eggs and beans, or chicken and fish that can be baked, grilled or broiled without adding the extra calories of frying.
  • Healthy fats should make up about 30 percent of your diet.
  • Foods like avocados, nuts, and salmon are all great examples of foods that contain healthy fats.
  • Cut out as much processed food as possible.
  • This will help lower the amount of saturated fats, which can contribute to clogged arteries.
  • Pay attention to condiments. Foods like soy sauce, ketchup, pickles, olives, salad dressings, and seasoning packets are high in sodium.
  • Saturated fat can even hide in places we wouldn't suspect, like packaged cookies and other baked goods.
  • Add in whole grains, which can be high in fiber to help with digestion and lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
  • Look for the word “whole” at the beginning of the ingredient list. whole oats, whole-wheat flour, whole-grain corn, whole-grain brown rice, wild rice, whole flaxseed, whole-grain bread and whole-grain pasta are great.
  • Biscuits, pies, cakes, doughnuts, muffins and white bread should be eaten in moderation.

Pennington Biomedical's nutrition research extends from the laboratory into the kitchen. The DASH Diet, currently ranked as the #1 best diet by U.S. News & World Report got its start through research done at Pennington Biomedical. You can find the eating plan at www.pbrc.edu. Pennington Biomedical's dietitians are also busy developing recipes for research studies that analyze the impact of different foods and meal plans. You can find a sampling of delicious original family recipes at www.pbrc.edu/kitchen, and look for more information about participating in a research study at www.pbrc.edu/healthierLA.

For more information on how you can support this and other projects at LSU’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center, visit www.pbrf.org.