Your stomach may get all the goodies, but it’s your heart that deserves only the very best when it comes to food. According to multiple studies, diets play a big part in heart disease. They can either add to the problem or keep it at bay.
Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States and it’s important to note this statistic because a majority of women tend to be in control of the household menu. Hence, changing the grocery list will change the way you eat, and ultimately change the way you live your life.
Read on for our top heart healthy foods, tips and recipes for eating better, and other resources to keep your heart happy and strong:
Top Heart-Friendly Foods
- Whole Grains – dietary fiber helps reduce blood cholesterol levels, lowering the risk for heart disease. In general, fibers give you the feeling of being full, helping with weight management and food intake.
- Ex: Whole grain bread, whole grain cereal, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole grain crackers, or popped popcorn.
- Tip: Eat 25 grams of fiber each day
- Beans – the soluble fiber in these babies help bind cholesterol and keep it from being absorbed in the gut. They also contain flavonoids, that stop the adhesion of platelets in the blood, lowering risk of heart attack and strokes.
- Tip: Eat 1/2 cup of cooked beans
- Veggies – Being high in vitamins, minerals and fiber and low in fat and calories, a rainbow of these earthly goods will help maintain your blood pressure.
- Ex: Deeply colored fruits and veggies like spinach, berries, carrots. To get your sugar cravings fulfilled, eat apples, strawberries, bananas.
- Tip: Challenge yourself to eat 3 colors of the rainbow a day. Eat 4.5 cups of fruits and veggies per day.
- Fish – The omega-3 fatty acids in fish, like salmon and tuna, slow the growth of plaque and lower blood pressure (slightly). They also decrease your risk of arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat).
- Tip: Eat fish at least 2 times a week. 1 serving is 3.5 ounces cooked or 3/4 cups of flaked fish.
Tips for Shopping
- When buying meats, choose chicken or turkey breasts. If you’re going to choose red meats, make sure to get the cuts marked “loin” or round. They have less fat. Choose “choice” or “select” grades of beef and trim the fat!
- Choose nonfat or lowfat dairy options. Others are full of saturated fats. If you want a frozen treat, frozen fruit bars are the way to go.
- Pick your fats carefully. Avoid saturated fats like butter, and opt for unsaturated fats like olive oil.
Food Prep and Cooking
- Make recipes or egg dishes with egg whites, instead of egg yolks. Substitute two egg whites for each egg yolk.
- Stir fry your veggies but avoid high sodium seasonings like soy sauce or teriyaki sauce. Try wine, little oil, or veggie stock.
- Roast, grill, or broil on a pan with a rack so the food doesn’t sit in its own fat drippings.
- Steam your veggies in a basket over simmering water as they’ll retain more of their flavor.
- Add flavor with herbs and spices. NOT salt.
Resources to Give Your Heart A Boost
- MoChi Fitness: A Fresh Guide to Nutrition and Weight Loss
- American Heart Association: Nutrition Center
- Food Network: Recipes for a Healthy Heart
Treat your hearty best friend with care, trust the words that ‘you are what you eat’, and you’ll live a happier and healthier life!