Heart healthy diet | Local | wlfi.com – wlfi.com

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A registered Dietitian at Franciscan Health explains what you can do to have a healthy diet.

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — A Clinical Dietitian at Franciscan Health is stressing the importance of a healthy diet.  

Kayla Crabtree says heart health and good diet go hand-in-hand.

Crabtree works with patients at Franciscan who require nutrition intervention.

“I go and I speak with those patients and I do multiple things, but one of those things is focusing on tube feedings,” said Crabtree. “I do a lot of diet education. Let’s say a patient is diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, or diabetes, I help them with the diet aspect of that.”

Crabtree says she’s always encouraging people to understand the benefits of a balanced diet.

“Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy sources of protein so choosing lean meats, fish products and low-fat dairy products,” said Crabtree. “Also minimizing how much saturated fat, sodium and added sugar we’re doing in our diet as well.”

Crabtree says there are two specific things she focuses on with patients when it comes to cardiac diet. 

“One is sodium in the diet,” said Crabtree. “The recommendation per-day is 2300 milligrams of sodium, but the American Heart Association recommends trying to lower that down to 1500 milligrams if we can.”

If you use table salt, Crabtree says one teaspoon of table salt alone is 2300 milligrams of sodium. She says it’s always important to make your meals as fresh as possible by staying away from processed foods.

“The other thing I always like to talk about is the types of fats,” said Crabtree. “Fats are important because they support cell function, they protect our organs and give us energy. However certain types of fats we want to try to stay away from.”

She recommends staying away from saturated and trans fats.

“Those have been shown to raise our LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels, which is the bad cholesterol in our body,” said Crabtree. “So we try to stay away from really fatty-meat products, so choosing lean protein products and low-fat dairy products and staying away from butter.”

Crabtree says diet and heart health go hand-in-hand.

“If you have a bad diet you increase your risk for obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” said Crabtree. “That’s why a balanced diet is recommended all the way around.”

One thing she stresses to her patients is that a good diet should not only be used as a treatment. She says it should be used as a preventative measure.

“A healthy diet can be used to prevent or delay all of these chronic diseases, so trying to use diet before we’re told we have a cardiovascular disease,” said Crabtree. “We don’t have to have a personal history, or family history of cardiovascular disease to follow these recommendations. You can definitely start now.”

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