Valentine’s Day isn’t the only heart-related event in February—it is also American Heart Month, recognized by the United States government as a time to increase awareness of heart disease. This month is a great time to reflect on how your habits affect your heart health. Heart disease is the cause of death for about 1 in every 4 Americans, but people can decrease their chance of getting cardiovascular disease with healthy eating and physical activity (CDC).
Here are four substitutions you can make in your diet that are good for your heart:
1. Choose Whole Grains
Whole grain products are higher in fiber than refined grains, which is good for your heart. Try switching a staple grain food in your diet, such as spaghetti noodles, to a whole grain version. To ensure a product is whole grain, check the ingredients label for “whole wheat” or “whole grain” as the first ingredient. “Enriched wheat” does not have the same benefits.
2. Skip the Salt
Too much salt can increase your blood pressure, which in turn puts pressure on your heart. Try moving your salt shaker from the kitchen table to the counter, so it is less convenient to add salt to your meals. When you shop for canned and frozen items, look for “No salt added” on the package.
3. Fill up on Fish
Fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are better for your heart than the saturated fat in other animal proteins. If you eat fish twice a week, the omega-3 fatty acids can decrease your chance of developing a heart disease (American Heart Association).
Not sure how to cook fish? Try this foil method from Celebrate Your Plate!
4. Boost on Beans
Animal proteins, such as beef, pork, and chicken, are higher in saturated fat than plant proteins such as beans. Saturated fat causes higher cholesterol, which can cause to heart disease (American Heart Association). Beans are also a good source of fiber. Next time you have a taco night, switch out your beef with black beans!
This Celebrate Your Plate soup recipe will get you a serving of beans and keep you warm in the winter weather!
Small changes can make big differences for your heart health. Try out these suggestions and see how it goes!