If you want to give your family's daily diet a "heart health makeover," start with your kitchen. It stands to reason that how we fill our kitchen -- in the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer -- sets the pattern for what we eat.
If you stock your kitchen with nutritious but flavorful whole foods, you and your family are more likely to eat a heart-smart diet and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
The unexpected death of NBC Meet the Press host Tim Russert in June shocked many Americans, who suddenly saw themselves at risk for heart trouble. Heart-healthy diets gained traction in 2008, along with tips for recognizing symptoms of heart disease.
Those topics are among the most viewed heart-related stories on WebMD for 2008.
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Choose and prepare foods with little or no sodium. Aim to eat less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day.
If you drink alcohol, drink no more than two drinks a day if you are a man and one drink a day if you are a woman.
Those suggestions may sound like a lot to think about. But it adds up to one guideline: Eat a diet rich in mostly whole foods.
Think about the most wholesome foods you know: fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, etc. Most of these foods we buy whole, not in a processed package. And while whole foods don't carry a nutrition label like package food does, we all know that whole foods are naturally healthy.
When you do buy packaged foods, be sure to read the label. Look for foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium, yet high in fiber.
Here are my top 8 tips to make over your kitchen for a healthy heart!