February is Heart Healthy Month, so reap the benefits of heart healthy living and eating with these top tips.
February is Heart Healthy Month. You might think that it is difficult to eat and live lean but really it isn’t. The fact is, being heart healthy is simple and easy. And, with these tips, you’ll surely reap the benefits all year long.
Statistics show that over 715,000 people have heart attacks each year and over 600,000 people die each year of heart disease. With statistics like this you should head for your pantry and throw out all that junk food.
Why? Because the majority of the food we feed our families is laden with preservatives, saturated fats and artificial ingredients–things that negatively affect our heart health.
But all is not lost. It’s easy to make the change with these four heart-healthy solutions:
1. Eat a Heart Healthy Diet
You might think that it takes a lot of money to eat healthy, but the truth is, the United States alone spends over $312.6 billion to deal with cardiovascular disease.
In fact, trainers like Bob Harper knows that diet trumps exercise and is the most important factor for not only losing weight but also staying heart healthy.
One of the best ways to do this is to load your plate with plenty of vegetables, organic if possible.
Buying organic ensures that you don’t ingest any pesticides that might normally be present in conventional produce. Even so, most produce gets handled quite a bit from the fields to your table, so it’s always best to wash all fruit and vegetables.
Here’s how to ensure that you are getting your daily fruits and vegetables:
1. Think raw. When snacking. Put out a tray of your favorite vegetables along with a heart healthy dip like hummus.
2. Slip in the good stuff. Soups and stews are great ways to add vegetables into your diet. From tomatoes to spinach, carrots to kohlrabi, you can’t go wrong.
3. Pack meals rather than buying out. Take control of what you eat for lunch, by packing your lunch. Think heart healthy sandwiches with lean meats, like turkey. Even options like bento meals, offer a plethora of opportunities to encourage healthy eating.
4. Limit salt and fat. Add flavor to your food by using herbs and spices, rather than excess salt and fat. Not only are these low cal but doing so will definitely lower your chance for heart disease.
Menu Idea: Make your favorite version of a hamburger at home using lean beef. And, don’t forget to load it with lettuce, heart healthy tomatoes, fresh chopped onions, and guacamole. Not only will you find that your hamburger is cheaper to make, it’ll taste even better knowing you’re taking charge of your health.
Can’t forego the fries? Crinkle cut some carrots, jicama, and zucchini, instead. Serve it up with low-fat dill dip. Doing this, you will be adding a bit of crunch to your diet, plus increasing necessary vitamins to keep you and your kids’ bodies healthy.
Need inspiration for heart healthy recipes? Here are just a few:
Want to eat out? You can but be a savvy, heart healthy consumer. Choose items that highlight vegetables, a bit of protein, and low carbs. And, of course, pass on the bread.
2. Exercise Daily
Get moving. It only takes about 30 minutes per day of exercise to keep your heart healthy. But you have to be doing moderate-intensity exercises in order to keep your heart rate up.
If you miss a day, get back in the swing and start over. But the key here is to keep moving.
Make it a family affair. This is where you can take stock of your child’s exercise, too.
Encourage less sedentary time and fill it with outdoor activities that will feed their souls as well as exercise their bodies.
Heart Healthy Exercise Tip for Families
Opt for activities that you and your family will be more inclined to do on a regular basis. Hiking in the woods, spending time on the beach, and swimming are just a couple of ideas. And, what’s more is that these activities do not require any fancy exercise equipment. So what are you waiting for? Get moving!
Step Up for Heart Health (Video)
Taking care of your heart is as easy as putting one step in front of the other. Do the Heart Walk!
3. Monitor Your Risks
Monitoring your risks includes not smoking, limiting alcohol usage, managing cholesterol levels and medication (if needed), controlling diabetes and blood pressure.
And, of course, always check with your physician when changing medications, starting any exercise program, and be sure to let him/her know if you notice a change in your health. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
4. Wear Red
Wearing red during the month of February is great way to show support for heart health. But you don’t have to stop there.
Sport some “red” throughout the year and celebrate your love for your heart.
American Heart Association Resources
But what if you find yourself at a loss for what to make or don’t even know where to start for living heart healthy?
Well, the American Heart Association has got you covered with a plethora of published “heart healthy” inspired manuals and amazing cookbooks for home cooks and chefs of all levels.
These four cookbooks are my favorite because they accentuate the positive when it comes to eating healthy, plus the recipes vary from quick and easy to low and slow (think: Insta Pot) to great food storage tips (which we all need to know).