The study of how our body is affected by the food we put in it has been an area of interest for scientists for hundreds of years. The nutrients we get from food help keep the cells in our bodies functioning properly. This means that our bodies need specific nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein, fats and carbohydrates to keep all systems in our bodies running smoothly. Poor diet and nutrition can be major factors associated with chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, stroke, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease and even some forms of cancer.

Following a heart healthy diet can lessen the strain on the heart by lowing blood pressure, lowing cholesterol levels and keeping arteries unclogged. This means the heart does not have to work as hard, reducing the risk of it becoming weakened or damaged from the constant strain. Keeping your heart healthy and strong is the best way to avoid many heart-related conditions such as heart disease or heart attacks.

In order to make your diet more heart healthy here are a few tips:

  • – reduce your sodium intake
  • – limit your consumption of unhealthy saturated and trans fats
  • – avoid added sugars when possible
  • – avoid processed foods

Hypertension and high cholesterol are two major risk factors of heart disease. Sodium intake is directly linked to blood pressure, therefore, in order to prevent hypertension, it is best to lower sodium intake. Similarly, added sugars, unhealthy saturated fats and trans-fats all affect cholesterol levels. Avoiding them has been shown to keep cholesterol levels within a healthy range. As for processed foods, they are often high in sodium, unhealthy fats and added sugars.

Canada’s Food Guide can be a very helpful tool in maintaining a healthy diet. It provides the recommended proportion sizes for the different food groups. According to Canada’s Food Guidealf of your plate should contain a variety of fruits and/or vegetables, a quarter of your plate should be a source protein and the other quarter of your plate should include whole grain foods. It also encourages people to choose water as their drink of choice.

To promote nutritious dining and reduce the risk of heart disease, Northern Hearts is happy to announce the return of Dine with Doc this year! Dine with Doc is a relaxing and entertaining evening, based on a nutritious menu carefully prepared to be heart healthy. Enjoy an amazing 4 course dinner with cooking demonstrations by Chef Franco Masdea from the Tomlin restaurant, assisted by local doctors and other health care professionals. This year, Dine with Doc will be held at The Chanterelle (206 Park Avenue, Thunder Bay) on Friday, September 22nd starting with a symposium at 6:00 pm and dinner at 7:00 pm. Tickets are now available for purchase. Individual tickets are $125 each or a table of 8 can be purchased for $900. For more information or to purchase tickets please visit

For all questions related to heart health, please visit: or follow Northern Hearts on Facebook and Instagram (@NorthernHeartsThunderBay), where you can become informed with a new posting each Wednesday.

Canada Food Guide:

Submitted by Northern Hearts Program Coordinator, Lana Ryder-Methot.