Health Center - Heart Health
Small lifestyle changes can go a long way in preventing heart disease and stroke, so learn more and start protecting yourself today. If you're living with heart disease, read up on management strategies, from who should be part of your medical team to treatment options to consider.
Heart-Healthy Versions of 5 Favorite Foods
February marks American Heart Month, a time when people are encouraged to be mindful of their cardiovascular well-being, whether that means getting a checkup at the doctor or revamping the contents of their refrigerators and kitchen cabinets. Luckily, the latter may be easier than you think.
We all know that fruits and vegetables are great for the heart, providing essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, with few calories. But it's possible to indulge in treats like burgers and desserts while staying in line with your heart-healthy diet if you follow some healthy guidelines. Here are five foods that you can feel good about eating.
1. Grass-fed beef
While a fast-food burger is definitely not in the cards for people looking to improve their heart health, there are certain types of beef that may be good for cardiovascular wellness. At the market, look for beef labeled "grass-fed," because this type of meat is typically lower in fat, contains omega-3 fatty acids and potentially even antioxidants (though you'll still get a lot more omega-3s from fish). This is likely because grass is a more natural option for cows, compared to corn and grain, the typical diet at industrial farms. Therefore, the animals are healthier than their grain-fed counterparts, containing less fat and more beneficial nutrients. Look for lean cuts like eye of round roast or steak, sirloin tip, top sirloin steak and top or bottom round roast and stead. And remember to control your portion size. A healthy serving of meat, poultry or fish is 2 to 3 ounces, about the size of a deck of cards.
2. Vegetable oils
Your body needs fat to function. So don't toss out those perfectly good bottles of oil, particularly olive and canola. These oils are typically devoid of trans fats—which should always be avoided—and rich in beneficial mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Mixing a tablespoon of one of these oils with a half tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice, plus a dash of salt and pepper, is a quick, healthy way to dress all those fruits and veggies, adding a boost of flavor and nutrients.
Yes, you can still have your toast in the morning and perhaps even a cookie at night, with one caveat: They should be made with 100 percent whole grains. Choosing these over refined counterparts is one of the simplest and smartest moves you can make for your heart health. Whole grains are packed with fiber, protein, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, while white flour leaves much to be desired. If you just can't ditch the fluffy white stuff, try choosing products made with a blend of whole and refined grains to ease yourself into the transition. Also, make sure to look for products without added sugars.