Tips for a Heart Healthy February

Tips for a Heart Healthy February ~ Theresa Welt, RD

February is Heart Health Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. The good news? It is also one of the most preventable. Start making heart-healthy choices in your diet today!

  1. Choose fiber-rich whole grains for at least half of your grains per day. Look for 100% whole wheat bread, or experiment with whole grains such as barley.
  2. Eat a variety of fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables without high-calorie sauces or added salt and sugars. Dip raw vegetables in hummus or yogurt dip. Top cereal or yogurt with fruit.
  3. Choose poultry and fish without skin and prepare them in healthy ways without added saturated and trans fat. Look for the leanest cuts of meat available and prepare them by baking or grilling.
  4. Eat omega-3 fatty acids a few times per week. Try salmon, trout, flaxseed, chia seed, or walnuts.
  5. Select fat-free (skim) and low-fat (1%) dairy products.Low fat string cheese, or low fat yogurt are great snacks.
  6. Avoid foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet. Hydrogenated oils are listed in the ingredients list on the food label. Trans Fat is located on the food label too.
  7. Limit saturated fat and trans fat and replace them with the healthy fats. Healthy fats are found in foods like avocados, almonds, and olive oil.
  8. Cut back on beverages with added sugars. Pop, sports drinks, and juice are full of added sugars.
  9. Choose foods with less sodium and prepare foods with little or no salt. Aim to eat no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day. Reducing daily intake to 1,500 mg is desirable because it can lower blood pressure even further. Sodium content of foods can be found on the food label. Replace salt in cooking with salt free seasonings, citrus, and vinegars.
  10. If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. That means no more than one drink per day if you’re a woman and no more than two drinks per day if you’re a man. Red wine is heart healthy! The recommended serving is 5oz.
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