February marks National Heart Month, a time to educate, a time to share, and the perfect opportunity to make lifestyle changes. Heart disease takes more American lives in a year than any other disease, but the good news is that you can reduce your risk by taking the right steps! This month, I will post heart-healthy recipes and each blog post will discuss ways to keep your ticker in tip top shape!
Just as a brief overview, here are the key players in a heart-healthy diet (all of which I’ll discuss in depth throughout the month!):
- Fat: For most individuals, 30% of daily calories should come from fats, at least 20% from monounsaturated & polyunsaturated fats and only 10% from saturated fats & trans fats.
- Cholesterol: Found mostly in animal products, cholesterol should be limited to 300 mg/day.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Your heart loves omega-3’s which can be found in fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies) and walnuts.
- Fiber: Found in fruits, vegetalbes, whole-grains, and beans, fiber can help lower LDL cholesterol
- Salt: To help control blood pressure, be conscious of the amount of salt in your diet. Salt, aka sodium, can be very sneaky and hides in many foods that don’t even taste salty.
It’s a common misconception that men are at higher risk for heart disease than women. This is FALSE. It is equally important for men and women to have regular check-ups and to keep a watchful eye on their “health numbers”, such as cholesterol, triglycerides, body mass index (BMI), and blood glucose. Check out this page to learn more about the numbers that count. If you don’t know your numbers, now is the perfect time to find out 🙂
The American Heart Association (AHA) is an amazing resource for the public and health professionals. Through HeartHub, the AHA website provides handy tools to help you better understand your risks for heart disease and offers healthy recipes and tips to improve heart health. So stay tuned throughout the month for more heart-y (hah) posts and recipes!