I’m a little late on bringing some heart health awareness during Heart Health Awareness month, but it’s never too late to give your heart some love!
February is (was) a month dedicated to heart health awareness. Maintaining good heart health is important when it comes to preventing chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Millions of Americans are suffering from high blood pressure which can lead to heart attacks, stroke, and/or heart disease so keeping blood pressure under control is a great start to preventing health problems down the road.
One easy way to start taking control of your blood pressure is through the foods that you eat. Every day, at every meal YOU have the chance to take control of your heart health.
Here are some easy, and helpful tips to keeping blood pressure low and preventing heart disease:
- Eat less meat: Reducing your intake of meat helps to lower overall saturated fat intake. Saturated fat can lead to high cholesterol levels, as well as raise blood pressure. Take one or two days out of the week to go meatless, replacing it with other protein sources such as beans, tofu, tempeh, or meat-free alternatives (veggie burgers, plant-based meats, etc.)
- Pick frozen over canned: During the winter months it’s a little more difficult to access fresh fruits and vegetables. Rather than grabbing canned vegetables or fruit head over to the frozen food section. Most frozen produce doesn’t have added salt or preservatives, but check the ingredients just to be safe.
- Increase fiber: Many Americans aren’t reaching the recommended 25 grams per day of fiber, and fiber is beneficial in maintaining low levels of cholesterol which in turn lowers blood pressure and promotes heart health. The best way to increase fiber intake is switching from refined grains to whole grains. Instead of white bread, choose whole grain or multi-grain. Also, incorporating more whole fruits and vegetables can boost fiber intake tremendously so make sure you’re getting 5-9 servings of these each day.
- Rethink your seasonings: Take another look at your spice rack and switch out salt for other seasonings. Using fresh or dried herbs, pepper, garlic, chili powder, etc. are all great ways to give your food flavor without adding sodium.
Use these four easy tips to take control of your heart health throughout the month of February, and then carry them through the rest of the year!