By Laura Giménez, RDN
As the color red begins to appear everywhere this February, make this month not only about Valentine’s Day, but celebrate hearts all month long during American Heart Month.
American Heart Month aims to promote awareness of heart disease in addition to promoting habits that aid in prevention. Look below to make this February your heart-healthiest yet, by incorporating some of these preventative, effortless tips into your day-to-day life!
- Incorporate chia and flax seeds
Both chia and flax seeds boast impressive nutritional profiles including being high in both fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. This is great news for your heart as omega-3 fatty acids are known to lower LDL, or lousy, cholesterol and provide anti-inflammatory benefits. Furthermore, both contain fiber, which has been proven to lower LDL cholesterol, promote fullness and satiety, promote gastrointestinal health, and balance blood sugar.
- Go nuts for nuts
Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts, etc. are rich in poly- and mono-unsaturated fats, both of which aid in lowering LDL cholesterol. Nuts also contain a combination of both protein and fat, which will help you stay satisfied for longer.
- Switch to whole grains
In order to incorporate more heart-healthy fiber, switch all of your grain products to whole grains. Whole grains contain not only more cardio-protective fiber, but also boast more b-vitamins, antioxidants and protein than their refined grain product counterparts.
- Incorporate more fruits and vegetables
In addition to a long list of antioxidants, fruits and vegetables also contain high amounts of heart-healthy fiber. Moreover, fruits and vegetables form part of a healthy-eating plan which may help you better manage a healthy weight.
- Snack smart
Incorporating a healthy snack can help boost your metabolism and curb hunger before the next meal, preventing over-eating at meal time; this is important when trying to maintain a healthy weight. Make sure your snack contains both a carbohydrate and protein source in order to give you energy and keep you satisfied.
Laura Giménez, RDN, is a registered dietitian practicing at Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center on an outpatient basis. She also provides nutrition counseling as part of the Institute for Weight Loss at Raritan Bay-Old Bridge. Giménez completed her Dietetic Internship with a concentration in Medical Nutrition Therapy in Clinical and Community Dietetics at the Rutgers School of Health Professions. To schedule an appointment for nutrition counseling, call 732-324-3236.