Show Your Heart Some Love This February
Celebrating American Heart Month with Your Heart
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, the stores are getting crowded with teddy bears, flowers and chocolate treats. As you shop for your special sweetheart, remember to keep something else in mind this year. Your heart!
Your heart is always pumping, making sure you not only have the ability to exercise, but can also perform the simplest of tasks, such as climbing the stairs and playing with your children or grandchildren. In honor of American Heart Month, here are a few simple steps you can take to show your heart some love!
Focus on Fiber
Highly respected for its ability to promote excellent health and longevity, fiber is found exclusively in plant-based foods. Acting as a bulking agent, fiber traps toxins and other compounds (like cholesterol) in the intestines, removing them from your body! Fiber is also satiating. Meals rich in fiber keep you feeling fuller for longer, which is a fantastic option for healthy weight loss and maintenance. You’ll want to consume around 30 grams of fiber a day. Eat a diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits and other plant-based foods and this won’t be an issue!
Since fiber plays a critical role in cholesterol and weight management, it’s a must-have for a healthy heart!
Watch out for Simple Sugars
Refined sugar wreaks havoc on your body, especially your heart. Research tells us that diets high in simple, refined sugars (such as those found in processed food, soda, flavored milk, white bread, white pasta, white rice, sweetened tea and coffee) elevate your triglycerides (the fat in your blood) and lower your good cholesterol. Instead, choose whole food products such as whole wheat bread, quinoa, barley, oats and whole fruits instead of the dried, processed or juiced versions!
Aim for Antioxidants
Plant-based foods have a host of health benefits. Some foods, however, have specific antioxidants that promote a healthy heart. For an amazing heart-healthy boost, consume a variety of the foods listed below!
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Emphasize Quality Fats
When it comes to heart health, be mindful of the type and quality of the fats you’re consuming. Choosing fats rich in poly unsaturated fatty acids is an excellent start, such as walnuts, flax seeds and chia oil. Extra-virgin olive oil is another fantastic option (just keep in mind that this type of oil is not meant for high heat cooking). With the higher calorie count for fats, keep your portion sizes small to avoid unhealthy weight gain. As with any food group, moderation is key!
This February, how are you going to take care of your heart? What are you doing currently? We’d love to hear from you!