Let’s celebrate Heart Health Month by giving our fridges a heart health check-up. Take a look today and see how you can give your food supply a loving make-over.
Healthy eating leads to healthy living. We are blessed with an appetite and taste buds, and most of us eat because we like to. However, when we eat too much or eat an unbalanced diet, we increase our risk of heart disease. A low-fat, low-cholesterol, high-fiber eating style can't guarantee that you won't develop cardiovascular disease, but it most certainly reduces your risks. The main goal is to help you start changing the way you eat for life. The only diet that really works is the one which helps you develop a lifetime of healthy eating habits. When a healthy eating style, which averages less than 30% of calories from fat, is combined with regular exercise it helps lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure while making it easier to maintain a healthy weight.
As we’ve seen, some fats are definitely better than others for heart health. A saturated fat is solid at room temperature, is found mostly in animal products and includes lard, shortening, butter, stick margarines, palm kernel oil, coconut oil and hydrogenated fats. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in flax seeds, fish, walnuts, soy foods and green leafy vegetables, can decrease homocysteine levels, LDL levels, and reduce arterial damage. So, add walnuts or pecans to morning oatmeal, instead of butter or jam, spread nut butters onto toast, toss peanuts into vegetable sir-fries, sprinkle nuts into salads, and sauté vegetables in a small amount of olive or canola oil.
Choose cooking oils or margarines with 2 grams or less of saturated fat per serving. To cut back on fat: trim fat from meat before cooking, cook foods in a nonstick skillet and instead of pouring oil into the skillet, pour a little oil onto a paper towel and wipe the skillet with the towel, and choose soups with a thin broth base, such as chicken noodle and vegetable soups as a better choice than creamy soups. Eat no more than three or four egg yolks per week, and replace high-fat protein foods (like hamburger) with fish, nonfat or low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry (or remove the skin prior to serving) and as the American Heart Association recommends, eat no more than two 3-ounce servings of cooked lean meat two to three times a week. All meats should be broiled, baked or boiled rather than fried. Try a meatless meal now and then with a main dish made of dry beans, peas, or lentils. They are low-fat protein foods.
The new American Heart Association guidelines for healthy eating advise eating more fruits and vegetables with servings of grains, pasta, rice and breads daily. Fruits and vegetables of all types are super foods for preventing heart disease. They contain antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals, and more folate which lowers homocysteine levels. Most fruits are sources of vitamin A and C plus potassium and other vitamins and minerals. Fruit also supplies fiber and it is low in fat. Eat whole fruits often because they have more fiber than fruit juices and they are more filling than juices. Buy fresh fruits or fruits canned in their own juices rather than fruits canned in heavy syrup. Choose juices that are 100 percent real fruit juice.
Vegetables provide a wide range of vitamins. For example, dark green, deep yellow or orange vegetables provide vitamin A. Broccoli, cabbage and potatoes supply vitamin C. Vegetables also are naturally low in fat and supply fiber. Eat a variety of vegetables, not just two or three of your favorites. Different vegetables provide different nutrients. Serve boiled or baked potatoes instead of French fries. Keep a bowl of celery and carrot sticks in the fridge for snacking. Green leafy vegetables, soy foods, blackstrap molasses, dried fruits, and nuts and seeds contain calcium to help lower blood pressure and are the better sources of calcium than dairy products. Almonds, cashews, pecans, rice, bananas, potatoes, wheat germ, kidney and lima beans, soy foods and molasses contain magnesium also help lower blood pressure. Avocados, bananas, cantaloupe, honey dew, grapefruit, nectarines, oranges, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, peas, potatoes and squash contain potassium, another heart-healthy nutrient.
You should note that the best heart-healthy foods are plant foods.
This does not mean that you have to become a vegetarian, but it does mean that you need to restrict the amount of animal foods you are consuming and emphasize more plant foods in the diet.
Next week: The science behind all the heart-healthy foods.
Disclaimer: Facts in these articles are obtained from medical and clinical journals, scientific publications, and published trade books. These articles have been written and published strictly for information purposes. Consult your health care provider for your specific medical needs. For any questions, comments or suggestions contact Maryella at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.maryellajuiceplus.com