You’re pretty hip to current events, so you probably already know that February is Heart Health Month!
If you’re anything like me, you probably use your heart just about every day -- for everything from pumping blood around your body to feeling feelings like love. It’s a hard-working little machine, and if you want it to last, you’ve got to take good care of it!
Here are some tips for keeping your ticker ticking:
Let’s start with fruits and veggies. For a healthy, happy heart, you’re going to want to eat a diverse range of goodies from the produce section. Eat a rainbow! The more colors you’re eating, the better off you’ll be -- so eat ALL of the colors.
Try to eat lots of foods that are high in fiber; we’re talking beans, peas, bananas, oranges, strawberries and apples. Other great options are carrots, celery, broccoli, tomatoes and cauliflower. If you want, you can even eat all of them at the same time by stopping by our juice bar and getting yourself a smoothie!
If you do dairy, try to stick to skim or reduced-fat milk. If you’re a cheese-eater, fat-free or reduced fat cheeses are your best options. As far as eggs go, you’re going to want to skip the yolk and just use the egg whites. Avoiding saturated fats is key.
Grilled or baked fish such as trout, salmon and herring not only taste really good but are great for keeping your heart in good working condition. If you like your fish all gussied up, use citrus and herbs instead of rich, creamy sauces.
When it comes to meats such as beef and pork, try to keep the portions small and lean. Loins and rounds are good options for keeping your heart health high. With chicken or other poultry, you’re going to want to avoid the darker parts like the legs and thighs. Your heart will thank you for choosing the lighter parts!
Beans, tofu, lentils and peas can be great options to replace meat in your diet. Seeds and nuts, while high in protein and poly and monounsaturated fats, should be eaten in moderation, as they’re high in calories.
Whole-grain, high-fiber breads and baked goods like crackers and cookies that are low or fat-free and low sodium are the way to go. Have you tried Udi’s Gluten-free Whole Grain bread? It’s not too shabby at all!
For oils and dressings, you’ll want options that are low in saturated and trans fats and cholesterol, such as canola, corn, olive, safflower, sesame, soy or sunflower oils. The Napa Valley Naturals oils not only taste great, but they’re also often on sale! Try and abstain from using palm and palm kernel oils, coconut oil and cocoa butter, as they can be high in saturated fats your heart can do without.
If you want to keep your heart pumping strong, it’s going to take a bit more than just a great diet; you’re also going to need a good amount of physical activity! Experts recommend at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week of moderate activity to keep your heart in good shape. Get out there and walk, jog, run, bike, swim or whatever you like to do to stay active and fit!
Here’s to your healthy heart!