Cardiovascular conditions are all too common in the U.S. You can be proactive about your heart health by exploring the resources available at your community hospital. Your hospital might have tools to assess your risk factors and information on leading a heart-healthy lifestyle. You can also talk to a doctor at your hospital about healthy living tips, such as eating well while dining out. Many restaurants prepare dishes with excess calories, fat, and sodium. Scrutinize the menu carefully and talk to the server about selecting a heart-healthy dish.
Skip the Alcohol
When you explore your risk factors at your hospital, you may be advised to limit your alcohol consumption or avoid it entirely. Consuming alcohol in excess increases your risk of heart disease. Instead, order a non-alcoholic beer, spritzer, or mocktail.
Beware Hidden Sources of Sodium
The doctor at your hospital may advise you to limit your sodium intake. While you may already know that many of the dishes available at restaurants—such as fried foods—are high in sodium, you might be shocked to learn that even salad bar items can have excessive sodium. Steer clear of high-sodium dressings and cheeses at the salad bar and instead load up your plate with raw vegetables and fruits. Other high-sodium foods are those that feature gravy, soy sauce, and teriyaki sauce, in addition to foods cooked with broth.
Communicate with the Server
Speak up about your dietary requirements with your server. Ask questions about how the food is prepared, whether oils are used, and whether healthier food substitutions are available. For example, instead of French fries, you might request a side of steamed vegetables. When you order your meal, ask the server to either bring you a smaller portion or to bring you a to-go box. Put half of your portion in the to-go box before you begin eating to limit your calorie intake.
The healthcare team at Memorial Hospital of Tampa is dedicated to helping families in the South Tampa area live life to the fullest while making smart decisions for their health. You can find a wealth of resources on the website of our community hospital, such as healthy living calculators and health risk assessment tools. Take charge of your health and schedule your next checkup at our hospital by calling (813) 873-6400.