American Indian and Alaska Native People
Keepers of Wisdom To
Strengthen the Hearts
Treat your heart to a healthy
Strength, wisdom, and good health are American Indian birthrights. Our elders
taught us many healthy ways that were practiced for many generations. Over
time, some healthy traditions have been traded for unhealthy ways that increase
the chances of getting some diseases.
Heart disease is the leading cause
of death for American Indians and Alaska Natives today. We can do something
to prevent heart disease. Healthy eating is one way to keep a healthy heart.
Native foods and traditional ways can help us stay
healthy. Native foods can still be found in many places today.
- Grow traditional plants such as beans, corn, chile, pumpkin, squash, and
- Choose berries, nuts, plants, fish, caribou, deer, rabbit, duck, and other
native foods more often.
- Use traditional ways of preparing food like drying, baking, stewing, and
Today, many American Indian families choose foods that are higher in fat,
saturated fat (animal fat), cholesterol, calories, salt, and sodium. We also
eat more than we used to. These habits can lead to heart disease.
Here are tips for making heart healthy choices:
- Choose fish, fowl, deer, and caribou.
- Eat lean cuts of beef, pork, and mutton.
- Cut the fat from meat and throw it away. Take off the skin from chicken and
- Remove fat from canned meat.
- Eat rice, corn, oats, and beans.
- Eat salads and sandwiches with little or no dressing.
- Eat fruits and vegetables.
- Drink fat-free or low-fat milk and choose fat-free and low-fat cheese.
- Bake, boil, broil, steam, or roast! Fry foods less often. Use small amounts
of vegetable oil instead of lard or shortening.
- Drain the liquid from canned vegetables and the syrup from canned fruits.
good health! Healthy traditions prepare the hearts of tomorrow. Share this
wisdom with your family and others.
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Indian Health Service
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services