Happy Heart Month Ravens! February marks the month dedicated to bringing awareness about heart disease and how we can reduce our risk.

It’s never too early to start paying attention to your heart health and developing healthy lifestyle habits, including quitting smoking, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, drinking less alcohol, and eating a heart-healthy diet. Read further to learn about heart-healthy eating!

Enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants that help protect your heart. Aim to fill half your plate with fruits and veggies or try to center your meals and snacks around vegetables and experiment with new ways to use them. Like this Greek Rice & Feta Stuffed Peppers (cookspiration.com) recipe.

Choose more high fiber foods

Fiber’s role in preventing heart disease is thought to stem from it’s ability to lower both blood pressure and cholesterol, and promote satiety. High fiber foods include fruits, vegetables, oats, whole grain bread or breakfast cereals and pulses like baked beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas. When adding more fiber to your diet, be sure to do so slowly and include enough water. Adding too much fiber too quickly can cause gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea.

Aim to have two servings of fish a week

White fish is a great source of lean protein and oily fish is praised for its Omega-3 fatty acid content. Omega-3 fats are healthy fats that may help lower your risk of heart disease. One serving is equal to 75 grams (2 ½ ounces) or half a cup of cooked fish. Choose fatty fish which are higher in omega-3 fats more often, examples include salmon, sardines and rainbow trout.

If you don’t eat fish, alternative sources of omega-3s are green leafy veggies especially broccoli and cabbage, chia seeds, soy foods and avocados.

Limit highly processed foods

Highly processed foods include many pre-packages snacks, fast food, frozen meals, processed meats and sugary drinks. Eating highly processed foods can increase your intake of sodium, sugars or saturated/trans fat. Be mindful of the amount of highly processed foods in your diet and try to have whole foods as much as you can. 

Bottom Line

Habits you form early on can impact your heart health decades later.  A heart-healthy eating pattern includes a balance of whole foods, with few highly processed foods.   

Resources

(1) “Heart Month” Health Canada, Feb, 2017, https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/news/2017/02/heart_month.html
(2) Joanne Slavin and Beate Lloyd. “Health benefits of fruits and vegetables” 2012 Jul 6. doi: 10.3945/an.112.002154
(3) Procced Food and Health, The Nutrition Source, Food Processing and Health | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

(4) Hearth Health: Food Fact Sheet, BDA, July, 2020 Heart Health | British Dietetic Association (BDA)

Thursday, February 10, 2022 in , ,
Share: Twitter, Facebook