Embracing healthy hearts with a little TLC

This February marks the 50th Anniversary of American Heart Month. The American Heart Association advocates heart-healthy living through diet and lifestyle, endorsing the Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC) diet, which promotes reduced cardiovascular disease risk with a healthy diet and lifestyle.

It’s easy to live with TLC. Here’s how you can apply the TLC diet to your life:

  • Limit saturated fat found in fatty meats, poultry skin, bacon, sausage, whole milk, cream and butter.
  • Limit trans fats, which are found in stick margarine, shortening, some fried foods and some packaged foods. Choose whipped spreads instead or butter or margarine.
  • Limit cholesterol to less than 200 mg per day. Foods high in cholesterol include egg yolks, whole milk, cheese, fatty meats and shellfish.
  • Eat more omega-3 fats (heart-healthy fats) from fatty fishes such as salmon, tuna or mackerel. Aim for two servings of fish per week. Other goods sources of omega-3 fats include walnuts, flaxseed, and canola and soybean oils.
  • Limit your total fat intake (including heart-healthy fats) to 25-35 percent of your total daily calories.
  • Get 20-30 grams of fiber per day from whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
  • Try to eat more plant-based meals, using beans and soy foods for protein.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Aim for 30 minutes per day of physical activity.