February is Heart Health Awareness Month! With heart disease being the second highest cause of death in Canada, we want to share ways to keep your heart healthy. Over the next month, we will be unlocking tips to live a heart-healthy lifestyle, focusing on nutrition, exercise, and stress & lifestyle. Keep reading for heart-healthy nutrition tips!
Eat more vegetables & fruit - Vegetables and fruit contain Vitamin C & Beta-Carotene, a form of Vitamin A, that may help prevent cardiovascular disease.
Eat high fibre - Fruits and vegetables have high fibre levels especially when the peel is left on. Fibre helps to rid the body of excess fat and toxins.
Limit daily intake of processed foods - This can help decrease your chances of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and lower the risk of obesity as processed foods contain high levels of sodium, which raises blood pressure.
Limit unhealthy fats - Limit saturated fats, found in food such as cured meats, butter, and processed foods. Instead opt for healthy fats, including fish, such as salmon and tuna, avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds, which are all good choices for a heart-healthy diet.
Limit or reduce salt - Eating too much salt can lead to high blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease. Adults should have no more than 2,300 mg of sodium a day (about a teaspoon of salt).
Limit consumption of red meat and processed meats - The Canadian Cancer Society recommends limiting the consumption of red meat to a maximum of 3 portions a week, or 8 ounces cooked, and consuming processed meat as little as possible.
Red meat is beef, lamb, pork, and veal. Red meat contains high levels of saturated fat, which increases LDL cholesterol (bad) and can increase your chance of developing heart disease.
Processed meats are items such as ham, salami, hot dogs, and sausage. Processed meats contain high levels of saturated fat and high levels of sodium. This increases your LDL cholesterol and raises blood pressure.
Plan - Create daily menus using the strategies listed above. Variety and colourful foods can add more vitamins and minerals to your diet, making meals and snacks more interesting.
Allow yourself an occasional treat - A candy bar or serving of potato chips will not derail your heart-healthy diet and can help keep you satisfied with eating mostly whole foods. Completely cutting out the less nutritious foods you enjoy can often lead to overindulging.
If you have questions or want more tips on improving your heart-healthy nutrition plan, contact one of our Health & Fitness professionals today at email@example.com