Thursday is Valentine’s Day, and that means many people will have love and hearts and flowers and chocolate on their minds. But February has also been declared the month of heart health—meaning it’s not just chocolate hearts you should be thinking about. When it comes to taking care of your heart, eating well is extremely important.
You don’t have to be of a certain age or demographic to start making heart-healthy choices about your food. And, the choices you make don’t have to be dramatic or life-altering. There are many little things you can do today that will provide long-term benefits. (See Renee’s tips below!)
While reading about heart and stroke statistics can be terrifying, heart health shouldn’t be something you’re afraid of. The most empowering thing you can do is take action to care about and nurture your own health and well-being.
According to the Heart & Stroke Foundation, there are 5 ways you can Make Your Health Last. These include: boosting your physical activity, maintaining a healthy diet, reducing stress, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol consumption.
At Healthy Heart Meals, our focus is healthy eating. But, we also provide support services to help you implement other lifestyle changes (i.e. exercise, smoking cessation, and stress reduction) to help boost your overall heart health.
As part of our commitment to heart health we proudly participate in the Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Health Check™ program. A number of our individual meals meet the Health Check™ criteria. We implement an ongoing process of independently testing and evaluating our meals to ensure they are within the guidelines. Those meals which meet the Health Check™ criteria have the Health Check™ symbol beside them.
Why do we do this? Because we believe that a healthy heart is key to a healthy life!
In the spirit of heart health, we’ve compiled a list of simple things you can do to make your diet more heart-friendly…starting today!
- Avoid sodium, cholesterol, and fat!
- Eat less meat (trim the fat off all red meat and avoid chicken skin)
- Eat more Omega-3 rich fish (i.e. salmon, sardines, mackerel)
- Adopt a Mediterranean diet full of fresh fruits, veggies, fish, and olive oil
- Choose olive oil rather than peanut oil or palm oil
- Go vegetarian one day a week
- Limit the number of eggs you consume per week to three (substitute eggs with egg whites; or make an omelet with one egg and two egg whites)
- Limit high-fat dairy products like cheese, milk, cream, and butter (opt for skim or 1% instead)
- Swap fries for salad (avoid creamy, high-fat dressings)
- Shop the perimeter of the grocery store and skip over the aisles selling processed, packaged foods
- Bake, roast, or steam your meat and veggies rather than frying them
- Finally, be realistic! Eating well is all about making choices. Treat yourself once in a while and consider moderation in everything you do.
- Stress can be very hard on your heart, so start slowly and make changes that feel right for you