Get your heart "in motion"!
February is Heart Month
Your heart is truly a remarkable organ. It’s a complex pump that beats every minute of every day for your entire life. The heart is often connected to thoughts of love and life. Taking care of your heart by adopting some healthy habits can drastically reduce your risk for heart disease.
To celebrate Heart Month, here are some tips that will help you keep your heart healthy and happy!
Heart Healthy Tip #1: Add fibre to your day
- Start your day with a cereal that includes at least 3 grams of dietary fibre per serving. Top your yogurt with fruit and add legumes to your soup and salad.
- Eat plenty of foods high in fibre such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Soluble fibre, found in oatmeal, oat bran, psyllium, brown rice, kidney beans, apples, strawberries and citrus fruits may help lower blood cholesterol and control blood sugar. Insoluble fibre helps to prevent overeating and promotes bowel regularity. Good sources include wheat bran, whole-wheat pasta and the skins on fruits and vegetables.
Heart Healthy Tip #2: Choose products that are lower in fat
- Regularly choose leaner meats such as boneless, skinless poultry as well as lower fat milk products, such as skim or 1% milk, part skim milk cheeses and yogurt with less than 1% MF on the label.
- The leaner meats and reduced fat dairy can help to reduce your intake of saturated and trans fats. Eating too much saturated and trans fat can raise “bad” LDL cholesterol. Trans fats not only raise LDL cholesterol but also lower “good” HDL cholesterol. Foods high in saturated fat include fatty meats, whole milk and other full fat milk products, butter, shortening, coconut and palm oils. Foods high in trans fats include foods with the words “hydrogenated” or “shortening” on the label such as cookies, crackers, and deep-fried foods.
Heart Healthy Tip #3: Eat fish twice per week
- Choose healthy fats and oils. Liquid and soft fats such as olive, safflower and sunflower oils and non-hydrogenated margarine are good sources of healthy fats. Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring and trout, as well as canola oil, walnuts and flaxseed are rich in omega 3’s, another healthy fat.
Heart Healthy Tip #4: Get in motion every day for good health
- Make physical activity a regular part of your routine by adding at least 30-60 minutes of moderate aerobic activity to your day. Add more vigorous activities like swimming, jogging and cycling, that get your heart to pump a little faster, increase your breathing and make you sweat. Even for as little as 10 minutes at a time, activities like these are key to a happier, healthier heart.
Heart Healthy Tip #5: Maintain a healthy body weight
- Attaining and maintaining a healthy body weight through healthy eating and regular physical activity is probably the best thing you can do for your heart. Carrying extra weight, especially around the midsection, can significantly increase your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease. To reduce the risk, men should aim to have a waist circumference of less than 102 cm and females should aim for less than 88 cm.
In motion Nutrition's
"Heart Month" Recipe
By Lisa Zappitelli, RD