By James M. Rippe

As far as your heart goes, you are what you eat. Sound nutrition is critically important in maintaining and fostering heart health. The word nutrition grows out of an ancient Latin word meaning “to nourish” or “to suckle.”

How splendidly the root meaning of this word illustrates what eating well and eating right is all about, because mother’s milk is a perfect blend of just the right amount of the nutrients that babies need for a good start. Likewise, good nutrition for all your days means good eating from the balanced variety of foods needed to support life and health.

In spite of all the food and diet hype that you hear, the basic guidelines for healthy eating are simple and can withstand the tests of experience and science. Adopting them as the foundation of your enjoyment of food points you toward a healthy heart and optimal health. So don’t let the word nutrition scare you; just think good eating for good health.

Whatever trouble people eat themselves into, they generally can eat themselves out of! Even though poor food choices, such as eating too many foods high in saturated fat or highly refined carbs, contribute to significant health problems, including heart disease, adopting some simple, commonsense approaches to modifying your food choices for the better can lower your risk of heart disease and help you manage almost all heart conditions.

These same smart choices also can help you control weight problems and improve health, happiness, and quality of life. Adding regular physical activity supports these dietary strategies. These choices won’t, however, bring back a good ten-cent cup of coffee or improve the return on your IRA. You can’t have everything.