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Healthy habits: Change your eating habits to become heart healthy

Mar. 07, 2013 @ 02:15 PM

The American Heart Association (AHA) says people face many challenges to adopting healthier eating behaviors. For some, it’s the perceived time that it takes to cook. Some people don’t like the taste of certain foods. Others don’t like anything they might consider “diet food” or can’t imagine eating that way for the rest of their lives. They feel deprived if they can’t eat anything “good,” “salty” or “sweet.”

The key to enjoying healthier foods is retraining your palate. Most people have developed certain eating patterns over time due to culture, where they live, time constraints, or budget restrictions. As a result, we have conditioned our taste buds to be stimulated by certain types of foods or cooking methods. Did you know that fat, salt and sugar can alter the tongue’s ability to detect certain flavors? Fat coats the taste buds and can block them from perceiving flavors. Excess salt and sugars can have a numbing effect.

Here are some tips from the American Heart Association about changing your diet.

n Avoid all deep fried food (deep fried foods are high in unhealthy fats)

n Eat fresh fruits and vegetables when they’re in season

n Avoid canned foods when possible (most canned foods contain excess salt)

n Prepare meals by grilling, roasting or slow cooking

Once you start using new cooking techniques and eating foods in season, your body will adjust and begin to crave these changes. You’ll also find you become more easily satisfied with smaller portions. It takes time to learn new habits, but remember this is an investment that only gives positive returns including the following:

n Healthy weight

n More energy

n Restful sleep

n Reduced risks for heart-related illnesses

Source: The American Heart Association

For more tips go online to www.heart.org

Healthy Habits 2013 is a partnership among Cabell Huntington Hospital, Marshall University, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and St. Mary’s Medical Center. We are a community working together to improve our health. Check out a “Healthy Habits” tip every Friday in The Herald-Dispatch.

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