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Healthy You

A Recipe for a Healthy Heart

Wednesday, February 08, 2017 7:49 AM

So often when we are making meal choices, we don’t skip a beat to think about the health implications our decisions have on our body. Eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet is one way to stay healthy, and being diligent about making smart choices day-after-day can also help you feel better (both physically and mentally). Along with these benefits, eating right can help reduce your risk of illness and disease.

February is Heart Awareness Month and a great time to focus on your cardiovascular health while still enjoying what you eat.

Jessica Hicks, Registered Dietitian, gives some nutrition tips on eating right for your heart:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Half the battle with staying healthy is to make sure that you maintain a consistent weight. This can be achieved through a diet low in saturated fat and exercise.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Green, leafy vegetables are usually high in vitamins and nutrients. Adding a handful of spinach, broccoli or kale to a salad or stir-fry can bump up the nutritional value of a meal.
  • Add omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. Foods that are high in omega-3s include many nuts (such as pecans and walnuts) and salmon.
  • Become aware of what you are eating. Start by writing down everything that goes into your mouth.  We don’t always realize what we are putting into our bodies - a lot of times we are eating more fat and sugar than we realize.
  • Change your cooking methods. Bake, grill or broil your meals instead of frying.  Use non-stick sprays instead of oil.
  • Make small changes. These changes can include switching to avocado instead of mayonnaise on your sandwich or changing to low-fat salad dressing instead of regular.  Enjoy sandwich thins as a healthier bread substitute; they are high in fiber, and lower in calories and carbohydrates.

Jessica recommends the MyPlate method where there is ¼ lean protein, ¼ carbs and ½ veggies with a side of fruit.

One of Jessica’s favorite heart-healthy dishes is baked salmon marinated in balsamic vinegar, seasoned with tarragon and pepper with a side of brown rice or something high in fiber like bulgur or farrow. She recommends also adding either a side of steamed veggies or a side salad with olive oil and either vinegar or lemon juice.