February is American Heart Month and a good time to pledge to be heart healthy. You can improve your heart health by living an overall healthy lifestyle, and this starts with good nutrition. Colorful fruits and veggies, like carrots, peaches and berries, tend to be higher in vitamins and minerals than potatoes and corn. Stay clear of sugary fruit juices – whole fruit is more satisfying and provides more fiber. Frozen fruits and veggies tend to be more budget friendly.
Next up, the dairy aisle. Select skim or one percent milk and avoid flavors like chocolate and vanilla because they usually have added calories. When possible, choose egg whites instead of egg yolks and margarine that contains “0 grams trans fat” instead of butter. Save ice cream for special occasions rather than an everyday treat!
Moving on to meats. When buying poultry choose breasts, the leaner meat, rather than legs and thighs, the fattier dark meat. Skinless is also healthier. Incorporate more fish into your diet, including salmon, trout and herring. Cuts of red meat and pork labeled “loin” and “round” usually have the least fat.
Last on our list, bread and baked goods. Trade white bread for whole-grain, high-fiber breads. And close your eyes when heading through the bakery! Just like ice cream, doughnuts, pies, cakes and cookies should be saved for special occasions.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Additionally, more women die of heart disease than all forms of cancer combined. Just by making healthy lifestyle choices, you can prevent the risks associated with heart disease.
For more info on American Heart Month and how you can be heart healthy visit http://www.heart.org/.