Tips to Keep your Heart Healthy and Strong

This month the world is focusing on heart health. Here to help us out with making some healthy nutrition choices is our very own Nutritionist Maria Pawlicka. Read on for her tips below:

  • Substitute puréed prunes or applesauce for butter in baking recipes.
  • Reduce your salt intake by replacing canned vegetables with frozen.
  • Pick food with potassium! You can choose lentils, lima beans, nuts, bananas, spinach or broccoli. This mineral helps balance out sodium levels, a major cause in damaging our hearts.
  • Choose a square of 70 percent dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. It has potent antioxidant and anti-clotting properties.
  • What motivates you to eat healthy? Write the reasons on sticky notes and post them where you are frequently (home, work) to remind and inspire you.
  • Learn to say NO to junk food. Saying yes to everything will lead to overweight and poor health.
  • Experiment with whole grains such as barley, teff, millet, buckwheat or quinoa. They are rich in nutrients, esp. proteins, vit. B’s and fiber that prevent sudden blood glucose spike, consequently weight gain that is connected with heart issues.
  • Eat nuts! Eat them in moderation every day. They will help decrease heart disease risk due to omega-3 content.
  • Eat from time to time meatless meals with lentils, beans or tempeh instead of meat to avoid high amounts for fat and cholesterol. With a little seasoning they are really tasty!
  • Eliminate added sugars that will increase your pounds and even cholesterol. Flavour your coffee or tea with stevia or cinnamon, instead.
  • Stock your fridge with vegetables, nuts, berries, non-dairy milk, and goat cheese to create healthy heart meals.
  • Dine out in healthy places! On the menu look for key words like baked, broiled, grilled, poached or steamed.
  • Plan more dinners in. Families that dine together make healthier choices together!
  • Dump that ‘soda’. A pop a day can add up to 15 pounds in a year!
  • Serve a bowl of low-sodium, broth-based soup.
  • Snack on raw vegetables instead of chips when you’re craving a little crunch.
  • Use smaller bowls and plates at home. Portion control protects your heart.
  • Use heart-healthy oils, like extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, pumpkin oil or sesame oil.
  • Don’t fry! Try steaming, broiling, or baking your food for healthier meals.
  • Sprinkle chia or hemp seeds on your salad for a heart-healthy fibre and omega-3s.
  • Go easy on the salt! Aim for no more than 1500 mg a day.
  • Fight cravings with healthy snacks: Goat cheese and cheery tomatoes or a handful of nuts and an apple.
  • Substitute lean turkey for ground beef. It has less saturated fat.
  • Is your food colorful? You can improve heart health immediately by increasing your fruit and vegetables intake.
  • Purée extra vegetables into soups for a creamy texture and health boost!
  • Follow low GI foods. They will prevent spikes in blood sugar, which means less strain on your heart.
  • Eat whole fruits for fiber. Don’t drink fruit juices!
  • Develop a new habit when eating out – always take home a doggy bag.
  • Try tabbouleh! It’s a great way to get in tastier quinoa.
  • Sample nut butters: Try organic peanut or almond butter on rye toast.

If you liked these tips, please forward it to any of your friends, family or co-workers that would enjoy it.

Maria Pawlicka, BAA, M.Sc., CNP
Certified and Registered Nutritionist