February is American Heart Month, and this week is, of course, the week of Valentine's Day. To celebrate having not only a healthy heart, but healthy relationships, we will be sending out an email every day through Friday. The emails will each have a specific focus, but all relate to preventing heart disease and promoting positive relationships. Today's topic is a heart-healthy diet.
Day One: Heart Healthy Diet
The American Heart Association recommends people eat a variety of nutritious foods from all food groups: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, nuts and legumes, and non-tropical vegetable oils.
Further improve your diet by limiting saturated fats, trans fats, sweets and sugary drinks, sodium, and red meat. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature, and typically found in animal products: fatty cuts of beef, pork, lamb, processed meats, and the skin on chicken. Dairy products like butter, full-fat or regular milk, and cheese. Some non-animal products contain saturated fats, such as palm oil and margarine. Also fried foods, cakes, biscuits, and pastries.
12 Heart-Healthy Foods:
The Cleveland Clinic came up with a list of 12 foods that can improve heart health. They recommend eating foods in their most natural forms ("whole foods" diet). Try building your meals around some of the foods on this list:
1. Fish: mackerel, tuna, salmon, and trout are all types of fish high in heart-healthy omega-3s.
2. Nuts: a handful of nuts such as almonds and walnuts are not only good for your heart, but they help curb hunger.
3. Berries: blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries are all high in phytonutrients and fiber.
4. Seeds: flax seeds (best milled or ground) are full of omega-3s to boost heart health. Chia seeds also contain omega-3s and fiber, as well as protein.
5. Oats: full of nutrients, and pair well with other foods on this list (berries, nuts, and seeds).
6. Legumes: beans and lentils are high in fiber, B-vitamins, minerals, and more.
Read the rest from the Cleveland Clinic here.