Tara Gidus

Let's Talk Heart Health

Knowing how to keep our hearts healthy, especially as runners, is essential. The heart pumps blood into our bodies to sustain life and it keeps us active and doing the things we love to do, so it's important to be aware of ways to keep it beating strong.

As athletes, we focus on training other muscles in our body, so why should this one be any different? Here are three nutritious ways to support your ticker.

  1. Eat more fruits, veggies and whole grains
    • This is a given, but can never be said enough. Fruits, veggies and whole grains are very rich in fiber.
    • Fiber can help to prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, and can help you maintain a healthy weight by keeping you full longer.
    • Set a goal for yourself to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables and choose whole grains when available.

  2. Reduce "bad" fats and cholesterol
    • High blood cholesterol levels are dangerous because they can lead to a buildup of plaque in the arteries that increases susceptibility to heart attack and stroke.
    • Reduce saturated and trans fats in your diet by limiting intake of butter, fatty meats, cheeses, creams and fried foods.
    • Check nutrition facts and ingredient lists on processed foods to reduce consumption of trans fats. Hydrogenated oil is another name for trans fat!

  3. Eat more good fats
    • Don't avoid fat, but get the right kind. The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good for your heart.
    • Fill your diet with foods like olive oil, fatty fish, nuts, seeds and avocados.

When it comes to matters of the heart, follow these three nutrition tips so that you don't miss a beat.

Known as the "Diet Diva," Tara Gidus is a nationally acclaimed nutrition expert and the official nutritionist of runDisney.