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Did you know that the way you prepare and season your foods can directly impact the health of your heart?  Eating a balanced diet that includes whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean protein is key for heart healthy eating. 

You can also protect your heart and blood vessels by including more healthy fats in your diet (while also cutting back on foods with less healthy fats), by preparing your meals using healthy cooking methods, and by reducing your overall sodium intake. 

salmon filet with parsely on top close up food fish fatty acids and heart-healthy recipes healthy fats

Choosing healthy fats

Some types of fats are healthier for your heart than others.  Healthier fats to choose more often include unsaturated fats (monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids). Good choices include olive oil, canola oil, avocado, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, salmon, & tuna. 

Foods high in saturated fat & trans-fat have been shown to raise your bad cholesterol.  Sources of unhealthy fats include fatty cuts of red meat, processed meats like bacon and sausage, poultry with skin, fried foods, & high fat dairy products like whole milk and butter. Trans-fats are often found in packaged snacks & desserts. 

To limit trans-fats, avoid foods with “partially hydrogenated oil” on the ingredients list. Try to replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats whenever possible.  For example, use olive oil in a recipe instead of stick butter.

Get your omega-3s in this week by making Greek Salmon and Veggie Packets

Up close shish kabobs with cucumbers, tomatoes, shrimp, chicken, bacon, yellow peppers, green peppers, onions and red peppers

Choosing Healthy Cooking Methods

There are several ways to prepare your meals with no added fat or that only use a small amount of added oil.  These include roasting, grilling, broiling, sautéing, stir-frying, poaching, & steaming.  Always trim away visible fat and skin from meat or poultry before you cook it. 

Try Quick Pan Roasted Chicken with Potatoes and Beans.

coconut oil, salt, salt shakers, morter and pestal, seasoning bottle on shelf in kitchen low sodium diet

Choosing Low Sodium Seasonings

Too much sodium can be harmful to people with high blood pressure.  High blood pressure can damage to organs and increase risk for stroke.  To reduce your sodium intake, eat more fresh foods while reducing your intake of some processed foods. 

Experiment with your favorite recipes by leaving out the salt and instead flavor your foods with salt-free herbs and spices.  Select no-sodium or low-sodium canned foods.  Always check the nutrition label for how much sodium is in 1 serving.

Try low sodium Turkey & Veggie Chili.

paperwork, glucose meter, glucometer laying on paperwork diabetes education, healthy food in heart-shaped bowl for heart-healthy recipes


To learn more about these topics and living successfully with diabetes, we encourage you to talk to your doctor about referring you to a diabetes educator. NMC Health offers Diabetes Education to help you learn to manage your diabetes.

Additionally, you are invited to join us for our virtual Diabetes Support Group.

Get more tasty recipes through the American Diabetes Association.

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