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It is February. Where did January go? Did it take all of those New Year’s resolutions with it? You were going to stop smoking, start exercising, and eat better. But life happened and those resolutions went out the door.
Just remember, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Try again. Your heart will appreciate it.
American Heart Month
February is Heart Health Month. Try implementing the following suggestions to help you eat better and improve heart health.
If you know you should be eating healthier foods, educate yourself and make some small changes. For example, reduce the amount of fat in your diet. A diet high in fat often leads to high LDL cholesterol. If the body has more LDL cholesterol than it requires, the excess is deposited on the walls of arteries as plaque. Too much plaque and the arteries become clogged – a condition known as arteriosclerosis. When arteries in the heart become clogged, it causes a heart attack. If arteries that lead to the brain are clogged, it can result in a stroke.
Fruits and Veggies
According to the Centers for Disease Control, choosing healthy meals and snacks can help prevent heart disease and its complications. Be sure to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as fewer processed foods.
- Eating lots of foods high in saturated fat and trans-fat may contribute to heart disease.
- Eating foods high in fiber and low in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol can help prevent high cholesterol.
- Limiting salt (sodium) in your diet can lower your blood pressure.
Make Small Changes
The following list of small eating changes that can have a big effect on your heart health:
- Try a fruit or vegetable you have never eaten to replace a meat-centered meal. Try one of the many new apples that are on the market today. You could also get some of that red leaf lettuce you have been meaning to try.
- Modify processed food such as macaroni and cheese by adding broccoli florets to the mix. Processed food is often high in salt, sugar, and fat.
- Plant a garden for spring. Container gardening is a convenient way to grow tomatoes full of that all-important lycopene.
- Read Nutrition Facts Labels. Learning to read and understand food labels can help you make better choices. Choose food products with lower amounts of sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars.
Making healthier food choices can build an overall healthy eating style and be good for your heart.