By Brandon Bolton, RDN | Nutrition Educator
February is American Heart Month, so let’s raise awareness and support for heart health in the fight against heart disease!
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, and it is the leading cause of death worldwide. There are many risk factors that impact your chances of having heart disease. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute states that preventing heart disease starts with knowing what your risk factors are and what you can do to lower them.
Some risk factors for heart disease include:
- high blood pressure
- high blood cholesterol
- lack of physical activity
- unhealthy eating behaviors
Heart Healthy Eating Habits
You can reduce your risk of heart disease by maintaining a heart healthy diet. Here are some guidelines to get you started:
- Eat a balance of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean protein sources
- Try to have at least half of your grain intake come from whole grains such as 100% whole wheat bread, oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa
- Aim for 1 to 2 cups of fruit daily
- Aim for 1 to 3 cups of vegetables daily
- Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products when having milk, cheese, or yogurt
If your menu needs a pick-me-up or you’re looking for some heart healthy recipes to get you started, try these yummy options which are brand new to NOAH’s recipe collection:
This yummy breakfast tastes great and includes plenty of fruit, dairy and fiber to get your day off to the right start. It’s super easy to whip up before bedtime and ready to enjoy the next morning. Swap out the peaches for seasonal fruit and enjoy a variety of flavors throughout the year.
This salad packs a punch when it comes to heart health. Lentils are high in potassium which counters the bad effects of salt and lowers blood pressure. Bonus, just 1/2 cup of lentils contains almost one-third of the recommended daily fiber intake.
Grab some extra napkins because this sandwich is dripping with classic barbecue flavor. While jackfruit can be used as an alternative source of protein, it only contains about three grams of protein per serving so you may want to add some beans to your plate for a well-rounded meal. Since cholesterol is only found in foods that come from animals, switching to a plant-based protein meal one night a week is a great way to lower total cholesterol intake.
For even more tasty menu options, check out our full library of nutritious recipes.