February is the month for celebrating love, friendship and healthy hearts. So do something good for your heart this month: Connect with the people you love, laugh more often, and honour your health with heart-happy foods. Here are a few ideas that we know your heart will just love!
1) Each day, aim for three or more servings of whole grains that include whole grain wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, quinoa and rye. Eat the whole grain, especially the bran of the whole grains. It has three parts: bran, germ and endosperm. When grains are refined, they’re stripped of the bran and the germ (the very source of healthy plant compounds and fibre).
2) Enjoy nuts every single day. There’s a strong link between nuts and heart health. Nuts contain a complex mix of nutrients, fibre, beneficial plant compounds and good-for-your-heart mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Eat a small handful (about 1 oz or 28 g or 1/4 cup) of plain, unsalted nuts every day.
3) Want to lower your cholesterol level? Eat beans: kidney beans, black beans, and chick peas at least three times a week. Beans lower cholesterol levels. They are loaded with fibre and are rich in heart-healthy nutrients like potassium, magnesium and B vitamins. Also consider making soy products a regular part of your diet.
4) Your heart loves Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats. Each week, aim for two servings of fatty fish like salmon. Also include Omega-3 fats like canola, walnut and flaxseed oils as a regular part of your diet.
5) Keep your blood pressure in check to ensure you have a healthy and strong heart, and an alert mind. Lower your salt intake and include 2-3 servings of low-fat dairy products to your day. You can start with a smoothie for breakfast, then add different herbs and spices to your foods for lunch and dinner while relying less on high sodium processed foods.
To learn more about eating healthy, contact your employee and family assistance program and speak to a health or nutrition coach. May your heart (and your plate) be filled with healthy, heartfelt things.