There’s a great variety of tasty and healthy food and drink available to buy inside competition venues. The food offering caters for all cultural and dietary requirement, including dishes suitable for people following Halal, kosher, vegetarian , vegan and gluten-free diets.
Gaining or carrying excess weight means that your heart must work harder, and this often leads to high blood pressure—a major cause of heart disease. Achieving a healthy body weight is key to reducing your risk of heart disease. Reducing portion sizes is a crucial step toward losing or maintaining a healthy weight. Try the following tactics to control your portion sizes:
- Understand serving sizes. A serving size is a specific amount of food, defined by common measurements such as cups, ounces, or pieces—and a healthy serving size may be a lot smaller than you’re used to. The recommended serving size for pasta is ½ cup, while a serving of meat, fish, or chicken is 2 to 3 ounces. Judging serving size is a learned skill, so you may need to use measuring cups, spoons, and a food scale to help.
- Eyeball it. Once you have a better idea of what a serving should be, you can estimate your portion. You can use common objects for reference; for example, a serving of pasta should be about the size of a baseball (slightly smaller than a cricket ball), while a serving of meat, fish, or chicken is about the size and thickness of a deck of cards.
- Beware of restaurant portions. Portions served in restaurants are often more than anyone needs. Split an entrée with your dining companion, or take half your meal home for tomorrow’s lunch.
It’s very difficult to eat right for your heart when you’re eating out a lot, ordering in, or eating microwave dinners and other processed foods. The good news is that you can learn to make quick, heart healthy meals at home. It’s easier and less time-consuming than you may think.
Heart-healthy grocery shopping and stocking
Creating a heart-friendly diet starts with stocking your fridge with healthy and accessible foods. Prepare a list before you head to the store or farmer’s market, and leave a little time after your trip to set yourself up for success during the week.
Look at labels
While scanning the aisles of a grocery store in the U.S., look for foods displaying the American Heart Association’s heart-check mark to spot heart-healthy foods. This logo means that the food has been certified to meet the American Heart Association’s criteria for saturated fat and cholesterol. In Australia, look for the Heart Foundation Tick.
- Make healthy substitutions. Choose substitutions like 1% or skimmed milk instead of whole milk, soft margarine for butter, and lean meats like chicken and fish in place of ribs or ground meat. These substitutions can save you an entire day’s worth of saturated fat.
- Make foods ready-to-eat. When you make healthy food easy to grab during your busy week, you’re more likely to stay heart-healthy. When you come home from grocery shopping, cut up vegetables and fruits and store them in the fridge, ready for the next meal or when you are looking for a ready-to-eat snack.
- Use your freezer. Make healthy eating easier by freezing heart-healthy foods in individual portions. Freeze fruits such as bananas, grapes, and orange slices to make them more fun to eat for children. Be careful with portion sizes: the recommended serving of cooked meat is about the size of a deck of cards, while a serving of pasta should be about the size of a baseball.
Heart-healthy cooking tips
When you prepare and cook meals at home, you have better control over the nutritional content and the overall healthfulness of the foods you eat. An added bonus: you can also save money.
- Create a library of heart-healthy recipes. Stock up on heart-healthy cookbooks and recipes for cooking ideas. The internet is full of food blogs and websites devoted to healthy cooking methods and recipes, and a local library can be a great source for cookbooks as well.
- Use heart-healthy cooking methods. Just as important as picking healthy foods at the grocery store is how you cook those foods into healthy meals. Use low-fat methods: you can bake, broil, microwave, roast, steam, poach, lightly stir fry, or sauté—using a small amount of vegetable or olive oil, reduced sodium broth, and spices.
- Cook just twice a week and make food for the whole week. When you’re cooking healthful meals, make extra helpings. Store as meals in reusable containers—or directly on plates—for easy reheating and ready-to-eat food the rest of the week. Cooking healthy food ahead this way is perhaps the most time-saving, money-saving, and heart-saving strategy available.
11 best ways to soothe symptoms and speed up recovery
Sip hot tea
All teas contain theophylline, which is a natural bronchodilator. Choose the brew you find most tasty. Add a little honey if you wish, says Gwen Huitt, MD, director of the Adult Infection Disease Unit at National Jewish Health Hospital. Honey coats the throat to soothe irritation and is rich in infection-fighting antioxidants. It also spurs saliva production, which can help thin out mucus.
Lower heart disease risk by 92% with a simple change each day
Heart Health Day 16: Cook with Garlic
Just one clove a day — or 300 mg 3 times daily — reduces the risk of a heart attack at least three ways: It discourages red blood cells from sticking together and blocking your arteries, it reduces arterial damage, and it discourages cholesterol from lining those arteries and making them so narrow that blockages are likely.
Lower heart disease risk by 92% with a simple change each day
Heart Health Day 14: Unwind With a Little Wine
You’ve probably heard that imbibing is good for you. Research overwhelmingly shows that 1 to 3 ounces of alcohol a day significantly reduces your risk of a heart attack. Unless you have a problem with alcohol, high blood pressure, or risk factors for breast or other cancer, you can safely have one alcoholic drink a day.
Indulge with dinner so you sip slowly. And remember that a full pour in a large wine glass can easily double what’s considered a healthy serving.
Think a stress test and a simple blood workup are all you need to assess your heart attack risk? Wrong.
Carotid Intimal Medial Thickness Test
How It Works: This “ultrasound of the neck” takes a picture of the left and right carotid arteries, which supply blood to your head and brain. After putting a gel on your neck, a technician glides an ultrasound transducer over your carotids to measure the thickness of the arteries’ lining.
Cost: $150 to $500
Duration: 15 minutes
Why It’s Heart Smart: Studies show a link between abnormal thickness of the carotid lining and coronary artery disease. “This test can detect even the earliest stages, before blood flow is blocked,” says Dr. Agatston. Because it’s not an x-ray, it’s also helpful for women who are or may be pregnant.
Get It If: You’re 40 or older–or you’re under 40 and a close relative (parents or siblings) had a heart attack or stroke before age 55.
What the Results Mean: You’ll get two numbers: the thickness of your carotid lining (normal is less than 1.06 mm) and your “arterial age,” an estimate of how that thickness compares to that of healthy women your age. If your arteries are more than 8 years “older” than you are, your doctor can tailor treatment to reduce your risk.
Next Steps: A diet and exercise plan, stress reduction, and, if necessary, drugs to lower your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar and reduce your intimal medial thickness.