At Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC, we believe in a whole-body approach to good health. That’s why we recognize American Heart Month and want patients to do everything possible to help prevent heart disease. One significant way to improve heart health is through diet. Being obese or overweight significantly increases your risk of heart problems. High cholesterol, another risk factor for heart disease, may also be controlled by diet. Below are some ways to start to makeover your family’s diet.
Add more fruits and veggies. It’s best to make changes gradually and one way you can do that is by swapping in fruit and vegetables for less healthy food choices. Get your children involved by taking them to the grocery store and letting them pick out new produce to try. Look up recipes and prepare them together.
Keep an eye on portion sizes. Most Americans eat way bigger portions than are necessary. Keep in mind that a serving of lean protein such as chicken should be the size of a deck of playing cards. You can automatically reduce portion size by using a smaller plate. In restaurants, ask for a takeout container and put half your meal away when it’s served.
Experiment with different spices and seasonings. Salt can increase blood pressure—a risk factor in heart disease. Try using other spices instead. Explore food from other cultures that flavor their foods without salt.
Switch from sugary drinks to water or seltzer mixed with a little fruit juice. Buy everyone their own water bottle. Read labels. Many sports or “vitamin” drinks are high in sugar.
Make your own snacks. Many prepackaged and processed snacks are high in trans and saturated fats, sodium and sugars. Mixing nuts with dried fruits or baking your own cookies lets you control the ingredients.
Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight is also beneficial for your feet. Many foot disorders such as plantar fasciitis and arthritis are caused or made worse by being overweight. If you are experiencing any foot pain or unusual symptoms, it’s important that one of our podiatrists, Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight or Dr. Marzana Mleczko evaluate your feet to diagnose the problem. To learn more about the how your diet can affect podiatric health, contact our Valley Stream (516-825-4070) or Lake Success (516-327-0074) office.