When Your PCP Tells You to Eat a Healthy Diet, What Does That Mean?

From an interview with
Dr. Mark Jones
McLeod Family Medicine Center

A healthy diet and lifestyle are the keys to preventing and managing cardiovascular disease. It’s not as hard as you may think!  Remember, it’s the overall pattern of your choices that counts. McLeod Primary Care Physician Dr. Mark Jones tells us more:

“For diabetic, heart or stroke patients, your primary care provider will likely suggest following a heart healthy diet. This may lead you to ask, what does that mean, and where do I start?

When consulting with my patients, I recommend following a plant-based diet. A plant-based diet means eating foods that are as close to their original natural state as possible. This diet emphasizes foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans and limits foods such as meats, dairy, and eggs.

Getting started may seem overwhelming, but take it one day at a time. Make your goal to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables with all meals. Incorporating whole grains and healthy fats are a great way to keep you satisfied. Over time, eating a plant-based diet will become second nature, but before getting started, check with your primary care provider to make sure it’s your best path to improved health.”

Diet and Lifestyle Choices Go Hand-In-Hand

The American Heart Association recommends that you make the simple steps below a part of your life for long-term benefits to your health and your heart.:

Use up at least as many calories as you take in.

  • Start by knowing how many calories you should be eating and drinking to maintain your weight. Nutrition and calorie information on food labels is typically based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet. You may need fewer or more calories, depending on several factors including age, gender, and level of physical activity.
  • Increase the amount and intensity of your physical activity to burn more calories.
  • Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity (or an equal combination of both) each week.

To learn more about how to live a heart-healthy lifestyle, speak with a primary care provider near you.