The American Heart Association has updated its nutritional guidelines

  • The American Heart Association just released new dietary guidelines for the first time in 15 years.
  • Experts weigh the 10 heart-healthy tips in the new guidelines.
  • The recommendations focus on creating person-friendly steps to make heart-healthy choices.

    Such as The main cause of death in the United States of America, heart disease It is something that should be on top of everyone’s mind – whether you have a family history or not. One way to search for a vital organ? Follow a “heart healthy diet” by eating The best foods for your heart.

    But before you even started scouring the internet for the latest diet trends, the American Heart Association (AHA) just updated its nutritional guidelines for the first time in 15 years. We asked our experts what these changes mean for you, and how they might affect your plate.

    Why are the new American Heart Association guidelines so important?

    Instructions published in the magazine Rotation, similar to the previous instructions. But this time around, the American Heart Association has taken a new approach to encouraging the public to do just that heart healthReasoning decisions. The report refocuses the guidelines from narrow, specific and scientific to broader, more personalized and more balanced to meet people where they are and allow for smoother lifestyle changes.

    The focus is on diet patterns – drawing, not specific foods or nutrients,” Alice H. Liechtenstein, Ph.D.Gershoff Professor of Nutrition Science and Policy and director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Tufts University, who led the statement writing committee, said in AHA Press Release. And it’s not just about what people shouldn’t eat. The focus is really on what people should eat, so they can customize it according to their own preferences and personal style.”

    Other health professionals are excited about the new changes and the efforts of the American Heart Association as well. “In my view, this is a nice change because it’s accessible and not overwhelming,” he says. Kristen Gradney, MHA, RDN, LDN, Registered Dietitian and Head American Heart Association in the Baton Rouge metropolitan area. “It’s a great starting point and really easy for people to understand.” She adds that as a dietitian, the new guidelines are very easy to help patients understand, and while there is room for the average person to need some additional information, a health professional can easily help guide you.

    Although it may seem that AHA updates are very good, experts in the field commend the AHA for simplifying the guidelines and replaying them to the general public after all this time. “Nutrition and diet have the largest impact on heart health than any type of lifestyle factor,” he says. Elizabeth Claudas, MD, cardiologist and founder The first step to food. Of the seven major health modifiers that contribute to heart health, five are related to diet, so changing your diet can have a significant impact on your risk of cardiovascular disease, she notes.

    “Refocusing and drawing attention to it is a wonderful reminder, and these guidelines are even more doable,” she says. “I think it’s good. I think this was much needed to make it more doable and practical.”

    Specifically, the guidelines leave room for customization – whether it’s calorie needs, food access, or eating preferences, the guidelines help provide comprehensive recommendations that most people can understand and follow.

    What are the updated AHA guidelines, exactly?

    Before that, experts detail each of the updated American Heart Association guidelines:

    • Reach and maintain a healthy weight. When it comes to heart health, people who are overweight or obese can make a big impact by working towards it Weight loss Dr. Claudas says: With small dietary changes every day. But it’s important to work with your health care provider to determine a healthy body weight for you individually and not focus on just being “thin,” Gradney adds. “This is very individual, very specific to you. BMI is a reference, but it is not everything,” she says.
    • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Gradney likes this tip to be at the top of the list in a very straightforward way that everyone can understand. “Fruits, vegetables, and whole, unprocessed grains are high in fiber and plant sterols, which are important for gut health and cholesterol management,” says Dr. Claudas. She notes that the AHA’s guidelines mirror those of Mediterranean diet approach.
    • Choose foods and products made with whole grains. Gradney suggests that this section may need some additional clarification What exactly is whole grain food?. She suggests that “having terms like ‘brown food’ is not always ideal, but it can be beneficial.” But in general, it’s important to choose foods that are as close to the original form as possible to maximize health benefits, says Dr. Claudas.
    • Choose healthy sources of protein. The guidelines suggest use plant protein sources (such as beans, nuts, and seeds) to processed meats. The American Heart Association also recommends adding fish and seafood to your diet regularly, with low-fat or fat-free dairy products and occasional lean cuts of meat and poultry. Dr. Claudas notes that the key here is not How do Many Protein is in your diet, but where does it come from? “Protein, in general, is not a problem for most Americans. We get a lot of protein in our diet and it is a macronutrient not a problem.” “The means of protein delivery is really what they’re emphasizing here.” This is because animal proteins tend to come with saturated fats, which can raise bad cholesterol and promote inflammation.
    • Use liquid vegetable oils. The guidelines suggest choosing vegetable oils, such as olive oil, instead of vegetable oils Tropical oils (eg coconut oil, hydrogenated coconut oil, palm kernel oil) and partially hydrogenated fats. Although there are some exceptions, vegetable oil is liquid at room temperature and animal fats are solid at room temperature. Dr. Claudas explains that foods that contain tropical oils and hydrogenated oils often come from packaged and processed foods rather than natural ones. It is often listed as trans fats on labels, but up to 0.5 grams can be present in foods without them listed, she warns. “It should be avoided at all costs,” she says.
    • Choose minimally processed foods. Instead of reaching for ultra-processed foods, the American Heart Association suggests choosing something fresher. Foods like low-fat muffins and rice cakes are processed carbohydrates, which can raise cholesterol, Dr. Claudas warms up. “If we stay away from overly processed foods, we’re really helping ourselves with healthy biochemistry,” she says. Gradney suggests reading this tip as “choose fresh foods” to make it easier to understand.
    • Limit drinks and foods that contain added sugars. Gradney suggests cutting back on things like soda and crackers that have a lot of added sugars, versus something like fruit juice that has natural sugars. Start with small changes to cut down on sugarDr. Claudas says. “A can of soft drink a day doesn’t seem like much, but one can be 30 cases a day,” she says. Changing a can of soda into a water bottle is a healthy transformation.
    • Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt. “Sodium is a big problem. It is very difficult to eat foods without adding a lot of salt to them unless you are cooking from scratch,” says Dr. Claudas. “People think it is table salt that is important, but the salt is actually in the food.” Dr. Claudas suggests keeping eating Salt is less than 2,300 mg per day or less than 1,500 mg per day if you have high blood pressure. To do this, focus on foods that are naturally low in sodium or without sodium, such as fruits and vegetables. And before you head out for dinner or eat a high-sodium meal, eat Snack on fresh fruits or vegetables first, she suggests.
    • Cut back on alcohol. Although doctors have long said that moderate drinking can be good for heart health, new search It indicates that alcohol has a negative impact on our cardiovascular health. The new guidelines suggest limiting your alcohol intake and recommend that you don’t drink if you’re someone who doesn’t already drink. “Alcohol consumption is a problem. It is simple carbs, empty calories and a stimulant. It can affect weight, insulin and blood pressure control,” says Dr. Claudas.

      Perhaps the biggest step the American Heart Association has taken with these guidelines is to allow for the understanding that many Americans choose to eat out or have alternative food sources other than their home kitchen. People can, and should, apply these guidelines whether they’re making dinner at home for their family from scratch, or stopping at a fast food restaurant during their lunch break, Gradney says.

      “You can set a goal by choosing vegetables at a fast food restaurant and choosing salad over french fries,” she says. “Start where you are, pick one or two things that you find accessible, and just do them.”

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