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Chilton Hospital Dietician Offers Heart Healthy Nutrition Tips for American Heart Month

Exercise is only part of maintaining a healthy heart. Eating the right food is also essential. Chilton Hospital Clinical Dietitian Christina Lavner, RD, provides some heart healthy nutritional tips for February, which is designated as American Heart Month:

Why should one reduce salt intake?
“Salt acts as a sponge in the human body as it stores water in soft tissue. It also increases blood pressure, which adds stress to the vital organ. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that adults aged 51 and older should limit salt intake to 1,500 mg per day. Eating more whole foods and less processed foods will greatly reduce your salt consumption.”

Why is it healthy to have a high-fiber diet?
“Eating foods that are high in fiber make you feel fuller, which can help you lose weight. Fiber is not as easy for the body to digest, which slows down the entry of glucose into the blood stream. Dietary fiber is found only in plant products, so it is important to eat lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fibers can either be soluble or insoluble, both of which are good for your heart because they lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Insoluble fibers found in foods such as apples binds to bad cholesterol and flushes it out of your bloodstream. However, make sure you drink plenty of sugar-free and decaffeinated fluids when on a high fiber diet. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that older adults should have 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories.”

What are plant sterols?
“This increasingly popular food additive is found in items such as orange juice and yogurt to reduce bad cholesterol found in animal-based products including meat, eggs and dairy. Plant sterols block cholesterol found in animal products from being absorbed into the bloodstream. The harmful cholesterol then leaves the body as waste, resulting in a reduction of lower cholesterol in the blood and a healthier heart.”

Click here for more information on heart health from Chilton Hospital.

Chilton Hospital is a fully accredited, 260-bed, acute-care, community hospital. It is a four-time recipient of the HealthGrades Specialty Excellence Award in Stroke, and Five-Star Rated for Stroke Care, the highest possible, for six years in a row. It is also Five-Star Rated for Joint Replacement and Total Knee Replacement for 2012. Chilton’s many services include minimally invasive and robot-assisted surgery, a state-of-the-art Emergency Department, a Pain Management center, the Sleep Health Institute, the Comprehensive Wound Healing/Hyperbaric Center, the Chilton Cancer Center, the Mother/Baby Center, an American Diabetes Association-recognized diabetes education program and a weight loss surgery program. Chilton has recently embarked on a $24 million modernization project, which includes the Cardiovascular Interventional Lab, the Comprehensive Breast Center and the Total Joint Center. The hospital is located at 97 West Parkway in Pompton Plains, NJ 07444. For more information about Chilton's facilities and services, or to find a doctor by name, specialty, or location, please visit or call 1-888-CHILTON.

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