February is Heart Healthy Month, and what better way to keep your heart healthy by proper nutrition! Below are just a few ways to incorporate “heart smart” foods into your daily routine.
Choose the Healthy fats:
Fat is a nutrient that our body’s need on a daily basis to help with cell development and provide our bodies with energy. Unsaturated fats are the best for our bodies. Some sources of unsaturated fats are olives or olive oil, peanut oil, avocados, nuts, flax, sunflower seeds, and fatty fish.
Limit your intake of saturated fats and trans fats as these types of fat can raise your cholesterol level.¹ Saturated fats are found in animal products such as butter, cheese, milk, and fatty meats. They are also found in coconut, palm and palm kernel oil.
Trans fat are a result of a chemical process called hydrogenation.¹ Shortenings are a source of trans fat and are often times found in processed foods or baked goods. Look in the ingredients list for “hydrogenated” oils and try to avoid these foods in your daily meal plan.
Did you know the average American consumes 3,400mg sodium daily?! For those with high blood pressure, heart failure, or are at risk for heart disease, consuming a lower amount of sodium is recommended.
The American Heart Association recommends consuming less than 2,300 mg sodium with an ideal sodium intake of less than 1,500mg daily.² Sodium is found naturally in foods, but is also added to some foods in the packaging process. Some examples of high sodium foods include salt, canned goods, and processed foods.
Limiting salt when you cook, using herbs and spices, and choosing fresh or frozen vegetables are all great ways to decrease your sodium intake. Remember to look always at the nutrition label and choose options with lower amounts of sodium.
Here is an herb and spice blend that can be used in place of salt:³
5 teaspoons onion powder
2 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
2 ½ teaspoons paprika
2 ½ teaspoons dry mustard
1 ½ teaspoon crushed thyme leaves
½ teaspoon white pepper
¼ teaspoon celery seed
The nutrient that keeps our bowels regular and can also improve heart health! There are 2 types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber can help lower our blood’s cholesterol level when eaten regularly.¹ Soluble fiber can be found in oats, beans, peas, barley, citrus fruits, strawberries, and apples. Insoluble fiber is the type of fiber that will help keep our bowels regular and is found in wheat cereals, rice, cabbage, beets, Brussel sprouts, and cauliflower. The recommended dietary intake of fiber is 25-30 grams daily.
Choosing healthy fats, consuming less sodium, and eating more fiber on a regular basis are just a few ways to improve your heart health. Are you able to set 1 goal this week to improve your health?
Set up a consultation with a Registered Dietitian today to help you on your healthy eating journey!
JoAnna Weinand graduated from the University of North Dakota in 2013 as a Registered Dietitian and started her career in New Mexico, working with many different disease states including diabetes in children and adults, kidney disease, malnutrition, weight management, and many different gastrointestinal diseases.
JoAnna has an adventurous spirit and her career has taken her from many different places, from New Mexico, to California, North Dakota and Alaska. She has worked in many different settings including hospitals, dialysis centers, skilled nursing facilities, gyms, and within the community with youth and adults in Alaska.
JoAnna has always had a passion for nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle. In her spare time, she loves to travel, mountain bike, rock climb and backpack. Living back in Minnesota, she also loves to spend time with her family.
JoAnna believes that nutrition is not “one size fits all” and each nutrition plan should be tailored to meet an individual’s needs. JoAnna enjoys working with many different disease states and developing the right plan so each person can reach his or her own personal goals.
¹Sizer, Frances, Whitney, Ellie. Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies, 2008.
²How Much Sodium Should I eat per Day? https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sodium/how-much-sodium-should-i-eat-per-day Accessed 5 February 2019
³Sodium free Flavoring Tips, www.nutritioncaremanual.org, Accessed 5 February 2019