Sunday, September 20, 2009

Be Nutrition Label Conscious!

Every time you pick up a ca of vegetables or a box of cereal in the store, you'll find a nutrition facts label on the package. You may not think you need to read all those tiny numbers. But taking time to understand them can do your heart a lot of good.

Let your diet be as heart-healthy as possible by being a nutrition label conscious!

Serving Size. Check to see how many servings the package contains. The nutrition numbers on the rest of the label are for a single serving. So if you eat 2 servings, multiply the numbers by 2.

Calories. How many are in 1 serving? If you're trying to lose weight, asking yourself this question can help you manage calories.

Total Fat. A low-fat food contains 3 grams of fat or less per serving.

Saturated fat. This number is key for heart health. Foods with 1 gram or less per serving are considered low in saturated fat.

Trans fat. For healthy arteries, avoid trans fat. Look for foods with 0 grams of trans fat.

Cholesterol. The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests keeping your daily total intake to less than 300 mg.

Sodium. Foods with 140 mg. of sodium or less per serving are considered low-sodium foods. According to the AHA, people should eat less than 2,300 mg of sodium every day.

There's more information included on the nutrition labels such as amounts of carbohydrates, fiber, sugar, protein, vitamins and minerals. However, the items given above will have the most impact on your heart.