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A Heart Healthy Diet Helps You – Both in School and During Your Career

Heart Month -- Bowl of fruits and vegetables

Nursing school is time-consuming and can be challenging and stressful. Remember to take care of your heart while you are learning to care for others hearts as well.

February is American Heart Month, which is a great time to start thinking about the long-term health of your heart. A poor diet has been shown to be an important risk factor in the diagnosis of many heart diseases, as well as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.  Many students and nurses struggle with maintaining a healthy diet. If you make the effort and integrate heart-healthy eating into your life now, you’ll set a foundation for a long and healthy career. And, you may be able to apply your new-found knowledge to help improve your patients’ lives as well.

According to the, to get the full benefits of a heart-healthy diet you should:

Eat fruits and vegetables every day. Dark green, deep orange, and yellow fruits and vegetables are especially nutritious. Examples include spinach, carrots, peaches, and berries.

Eat a variety of grain products every day. Include whole-grain foods that have lots of fiber and nutrients. Examples of whole grains include oats, whole wheat bread, and brown rice.

Eat fish at least 2 times each week. Oily fish, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, are best for your heart. These fish include salmon, mackerel, lake trout, herring, and sardines.

Choose healthy fats. Unsaturated fats, such as olive, canola, corn, and sunflower oils, are part of a healthy diet. But all fats are high in calories, so watch your serving sizes.

Limit sodium. For good health, less is best. This is especially important for people who are at risk for or already have high blood pressure.

Eat only as many calories as you need to stay at a healthy weight. Visit to find out how many calories you should be consuming to maintain a healthy weight .

Limit added sugar. Limit drinks and foods with added sugar.

*Did you know that in one 12oz can of Caffeine-free Coke there are 39 grams of sugar. This is more than 10 grams over the amount recommended for a normal weight adult.

Drink more water. Visit to find out how much water you should be drinking for your body type.

You only have one heart. Remember to take care of it in the hustle and bustle of nursing school and everyday life. Fuel your body with healthy options and lifestyle choices that will allow you to pursue your career for years to come.


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