February is Heart Health month so lets take a look into some easy and simple steps to follow to keep your heart healthy!
Consume foods with healthy fats – Walnuts and flaxseeds are among the two healthiest foods for your heart. They contain omega-3 fats, which are anti-inflammatory and reduce the risk of heart disease. Sprinkle crushed walnuts of ground flax seeds onto your morning yogurt parfait, or throw some into your protein smoothie and support your heart all day long. Other excellent sources of heart healthy fats include avocados, salmon, hemp hearts, oils, olives, walnuts, and pistachios.
Bump up your steps – Track your steps and aim to hit 10,000 steps (or more!) a day. This is an effective way to keep your heart healthy and get your blood flowing. Find a walking partner and set meeting times throughout the week. Set goals for yourself each week and track your steps to ensure you are achieving your goals.
Go for the greens – When it comes to heart health, greens are a must! They are one of the most nutrient-dense foods available so aim to get a green with every meal. Wondering how to achieve this? Simple – all a large handful of spinach or kale into your morning smoothie, throw some dark green leafy spinach or kale into your lunch-time salad, or roast and steam up some broccoli, rapini, Brussels sprouts or asparagus to accompany your dinner.
Use healthy oils for cooking and baking – Swap your unhealthy cooking oils (i.e., canola oil or vegetable oil) with more heart healthy oils such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil. These oils are loaded with potent anti-inflammatory antioxidants known as polyphenols. They help to lower the LDL cholesterol in our bodies which supports a healthy heart.
Reduce stress levels – Although this is often easier said than done, lowering your stress levels is an important step in keeping your heart in tip top shape. Try to take some time off where you can to incorporate some stress-free activities such as yoga, meditation, watching a movie, listening to music or just simply sitting and relaxing.
Eat your fruits – Fruits such as strawberries, blackberries and blueberries, are chock full of antioxidants which are and can reduce your risks of heart disease and heart attacks. Incorporate 1 cup of berries each day to reap the benefits that these little guys have to offer.
Try these heart healthy recipes and get on the path to good health!
- 1 ripe avocado
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Mash ingredients together in large bowl.
- Taste and adjust lime and/or salt to suit your taste.
Nutritional analysis per serving: calories 103, fat 10g, carbohydrates 4g, fiber 3g, protein 1g
Heart healthy salmon
- 4 oz piece of salmon
- ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup tomatoes, diced
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill
- 1 teaspoon capers
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Lay salmon on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Top with tomatoes, dill and capers.
- Bake fish for 20 minutes or until fish is cooked through and flakey.
Nutritional analysis: calories 465, fat 19g, carbohydrates 5g, fiber 2g, protein 50g