6 Steps to a Heart-Healthy Home

February 9, 2015

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You may be feeling a little extra love this month. Between American Heart Month and Valentine’s Day, your ticker is getting some extra attention. Your heart provides your body nutrients and oxygen it needs to survive.?? Make your heart health a priority; it starts in the home.

Plan ahead. A good game plan is the first step to a heart-healthy home. Before you hit the grocery store, make a list of the meals you are planning to make and the ingredients you will need. If you buy all of your ingredients in one trip, you will save extra trips to the supermarket and be less likely to order in. Sticking to a meal plan is much easier if you have all the ingredients on hand.

Have olive oil in stock. Olive oil is a pantry must have. Not only is it an excellent way to spruce up veggies, but it’s high in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). Studies show MUFAs help keep your heart healthy by lowering cholesterol and controlling insulin levels. However, olive oil is not calorie free. One tablespoon of olive oil has about 120 calories, but a small amount packs a lot flavor.

Skip the salt. Put down the salt shaker. According to the American Heart Association, most people consume more than twice the 1,500 milligrams of recommended sodium per day. Too much sodium can increase blood pressure, putting you at higher risk for heart disease. Skipping the salt doesn’t mean you have to resort to eating bland meals. Give your recipes a kick with herbs and spices. Try Experimenting with oregano, rosemary, chili powder, or basil.

Stick to lean protein. Studies show consuming too much red meat puts you at higher risk for heart disease. You don’t have to ban steak forever, but you should save it for special occasions. Keep your ticker healthy by stocking up on chicken and fish. Experiment in the kitchen with one of our top-rated chicken recipes.

Keep heart-healthy snacks on hand. Like olive oil, snacks like almonds, whole-grain toast with peanut butter, and veggies dipped in hummus are high in heart-healthy MUFAs. Throw a bag of nuts or sunflower seeds in your purse or car, so if hunger strikes you’ll have a filling but healthy snack to munch on.

Treat yourself to some dark chocolate. When you need to satisfy your sweet tooth, reach for dark chocolate. Studies suggest it can lower bad cholesterol and has anti-inflammation qualities that may reduce your risk for heart disease.

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