This February, in honor of Heart Health Month, take a little extra time and fuel your body with better nutrition. Trust us, you’ll feel better than ever and your heart will appreciate the extra effort. Here are a few heart-healthy suggestions to make your favorite meals more cardio-conscious:
ADD SOME GREENS
Vegetables are always on the table when it comes to heart health, and some pack a healthier punch than others. Dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale are filled with heart healthy vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They’re also a great source of vitamin K, which can help protect your arteries and improve cardiovascular health. Channel your inner Popeye and include spinach in your next meal. A little can go a long way.
SKIP THE SUGARS
Okay, this may be difficult. Yes, we know sugar makes things sweet. But can your recipe work with Stevia? Some natural honey or maple syrup will also help maintain your sweetness without the high sugar content. It could be worth a try. Sugar, fructose, corn syrup… these are not heart-healthy ingredients. Substitute when possible and your heart will thank you.
GRAINS FOR THE VEINS
When you have to eat carbs, remember that diets rich in fiber are more preferable than refined white breads and pastas. When it comes to combatting high blood pressure and supporting your overall heart health, choose fibrous whole grains. At the very least, try swapping out half the amount of all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour. Better yet, try almond-flour! You can also change up refined white rice for whole grain rice or opt for a more complex grain like quinoa.
SUBS FOR SALT
Sodium has a big impact on heart health, but that doesn’t mean you have to forgo flavor. Instead, try adding a splash of vinegar or a squeeze of fresh lime to your food. You can also give your favorite dishes an update with a dash of new spices and herbs. Feel free to experiment and test out new flavors, you never know when you’ll create something incredible.