February is Heart Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. In fact, 1 in 4 deaths each year are caused by heart disease. Although you may find this alarming, there is some good news! Heart disease can often be prevented. It’s all about making healthy choices.
To ensure you are making the right choices to keep your heart healthy:
- Eat a healthy diet by following MyPlate. Make sure to include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet as well as whole grains, low-fat or non-fat dairy, and lean sources of portion. Choose foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fiber. Limit sodium in your diet to keep your blood pressure in check. To find out more about healthy food choices, visit chosemyplate.gov.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Your risk for heart disease increases if you are obese or overweight. To help determine if your weight is in a healthy range you can calculate your BMI (Body Mass Index) here.
- Exercise Regularly. Not only does physical activity help you maintain your weight, it helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Check out my blog post on Feeling Fit for more information about how much and what types of exercise you should be doing.
- Don’t smoke. Your risk for heart disease is greatly increased by smoking cigarettes. Visit the Center for Disease Control’s website for tips on how to quit smoking.
- Limit alcohol use. Too much alcohol causes high blood pressure and takes a toll on your heart health. If you would like more information on alcohol and heart health, you can visit the website for the American Heart Association.
My favorite soup recipe is Mexistrone Soup. It’s packed with lots delicious vegetables and low in fat which makes it the perfect heart healthy dish. Enjoy!
Click on the recipe card below for a printable version.
How will you make your meals heart healthy this month?