Healthier eating habits can lead to a happy heart

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When it comes to a healthy heart, start with your stomach.

Making healthy food choices, whether at the grocery store, restaurants, work or school, can lead to life-long eating habits that are beneficial to both your body and mind.

Realistically, nutritious foods aren’t always readily available in our busy lives, and they may not be the go-to when hunger pains kick in. But making the best decisions when it comes to food, even while “hangry,” can help with a healthier, happier you.

[Related: AT&T and the American Heart Association are fighting heart disease and stroke]

We’ve got some advice on healthier eating habits that can make a difference over a lifetime.

Your heart will thank you for it.

A colorful palate

Adding more color to your plate in the form of fruits and vegetables is a great start to a healthier you. Whether fresh, frozen, canned or dried, fruits and vegetables have vitamins, minerals and other nutrients such as fiber, potassium and folate.

The best way to get the nutrients you need is to eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. There are five main color groups: green, white, orange and yellow, red and pink, and blue and purple.

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When it comes to green, think avocados and spinach. White has the fewest options according to the American Heart Association’s Eat More Color infographic, but there are still a few standouts like bananas and cauliflower. The rich colors of red and pink include favorites like cherries and strawberries. For orange and yellow, there are peaches and lemons. Blueberries and purple figs are the most obvious in the blue and purple category, but there are plenty of more options.

[Related: How you can help fight heart disease and stroke]

Eating smart

Learn the basics of good nutrition and making healthy food and drink choices. It’s important to understand the difference between “good” and “bad” fats, and ways to get “good” fats. Think about your sodium intake, especially when eating out or consuming processed foods. A high-salt diet can lead to high blood pressure and other health conditions.

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Sugar in moderation is fine, but added sugars and sweeteners can quickly convert to calories, particularly in soft, fruit and sports drinks. If you’re looking to lower your sugar intake, cut the table sugar and swap out soda for water or diet drinks.

Heart-Check mark

Finding healthy options at the grocery store is easier than you think. Just look for the Heart-Check mark on food and beverage products. The American Heart Association's program identifies products that align with an overall healthy diet. There is a digital grocery list tool, which is updated daily with the latest products to meet Heart-Check standards, to help you pick heart-healthy items. And there are dozens of Heart-Check certified recipes to make at home.

The information included within this article is AT&T-sponsored content written by a Currently Media editorial contributor. The statements in this article do not necessarily reflect the positions, strategies or opinions of AT&T.