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Watch what you put in your body

*Quitting tobacco use is one of the most important things you can do for better heart health. 

*Eating fewer high-fat, high-cholesterol foods and watching calories are important steps to a healthier heart and lifestyle.

*Meet with your healthcare provider to determine the number of calories you need each day to achieve or maintain a healthy body weight.


*Keep fat intake to less than 30 percent of your total daily calories.

*Lower cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg per day.

*Choose foods high in fiber.

*If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

*Read labels to find the fat content, calories per serving, and ingredients.

When eating out, be just as careful about your food intake as you are when you make your own meals.

Salad: Use vegetable oil and vinegar dressings.

Bread: Use margarine instead of butter.

Chicken: Eat broiled or grilled chicken; remove skin before eating.

Steak: Ask the chef to trim off excess fat before cooking.

Hamburger: Avoid cheese and mayonnaise toppings - add tomato or lettuce instead.

Fish: Select broiled or poached fillets.

Pasta: Use marinara, clam or tomato sauce without meat or sausage (avoid cream sauce).

Pizza: Choose vegetable toppings instead of cheese or meat toppings.

Baked potato: Avoid toppings such as butter or sour cream.

Vegetables: Eat plenty of these, but without heavy sauces.

Dessert: Sherbet and fresh fruit are excellent choices.

Coffee, tea: Use skim milk or nondairy, nonfat creamer.

Increase what your body puts out

Regular physical exercise can increase "good" HDL cholesterol levels and decrease triglyceride levels. An exercise program of even moderate activities, such as walking, gardening, doing yard work or dancing, can be very beneficial if done on a daily basis. Participation in any of these types of activities or even more vigorous exercise, such as aerobic workouts, swimming or jogging, is very likely to lower your risk of heart disease and enhance overall sense of health and well-being. Set a goal of at least 30 minutes of exercise (accumulated time) per day.