Q & A With Sarah, Our Registered Dietician

Sarah Krieger is a registered dietician and spokesperson for the American Deitetic Association. She gave some advise below about how to eat for your heart.

Q: What makes a diet "heart-healthy"?
Fat. Our total fat intake should be between 20 and 35 percent of our daily calories. The type of fat consumed matters immensely to heart health.

Most fats should be monounsaturated, which are found in avocados, nuts and seeds, olive oil and canola oil. These fats flow through the arteries without problems as long as they are consumed in moderation.

Americans eat too much polyunsaturated fat. It's found in most processed foods, and it's in salad dressing and mayonnaise.

Saturated fat is the most heart-damaging fat. It's the solid fat found on meat, under the chicken breast and in dairy products.

So to finally answer your question, a heart-healthy diet is one rich in low-fat dairy products, lean meats and chicken, seafood, olive oil, nuts, avocados, and fruits and vegetables.

Q: What are the best foods to eat for your heart? Why?
Vegetable Heart Avocados are great because they're high in monounsaturated fat. Use them as a condiment. Slice one up and put it on top of a salad. It's so rich and creamy that it leaves people satisfied but not filled with saturated fat.

Fruits and vegetables, of course, are great for the heart, too. Go for color.

Q: What are the worst foods to eat for your heart? Why?
Deep fried foods because they're cooking in 100 percent fat. I know it's tasty, but what you're really tasting is the batter and the fat.

Q: How will eating healthy now protect young people's hearts in the future?
The younger you are when you start, the easier it is to maintain a low-fat diet. It takes years to develop heart disease. Most people don't get the wake-up call until a doctor tells them they need cholesterol or blood pressure medicine.

Q: What are the best resouces for young adults to find dietary guidelines?
Mypryamid.gov provides a fantastic breakdown of the foods you should be eating everyday based on your age, activity level, weight and sex. It even breaks down the amount of discretionary calories alloted for you each day to use on candy, cookies, alcohol or whatever else you like.