Jaimee Cooper, new clinical dietician for Bradley Wellness Center (BWC), first learned the importance of a healthy relationship with food when her father began having chronic heart issues while she was in high school and college.
“Ever since then, I have made nutrition and physical activity priorities in my life,” she says.
Cooper provides one-on-one nutrition counseling for members of the Cardiac Rehabilitation program at BWC. Topics covered include how to eat, shop, and cook for a healthy heart. She encourages them to bring friends or family members to the sessions.
“I love to be able to share my knowledge and love of food with people of all ages!” Cooper adds.
Cooper grew up being active, playing soccer all her life. In college, she played Division I soccer for Middle Tennessee State University and previously played for the Chattanooga Futbol Club women’s semi-professional soccer team.
“In addition to eating right, staying active will help keep you and your heart in shape,” Cooper says.
“Heart healthy” tips
• Sodium alert! Limit sodium intake to 1 teaspoon per day (2,300 milligrams). You may not be salting your food, but the majority of our processed foods contain a considerable amount of sodium. Instead, use Mrs. Dash or herbs and spices to flavor food.
• Choose monounsaturated/polyunsaturated fats (olive oil, avocados, safflower oil, sunflower oil, etc.) and limit saturated and trans fat intake.
• Portion control is key. Split a meal with a friend or family member. This allows you to cut calories, sodium, fat, and saves you money.
• Incorporate whole grains into your diet. Add oats to your smoothie. Try quinoa instead of pasta or rice, or make air-popped popcorn with your own seasoning blend.