February is American Heart Month. It’s never too late to make dietary changes that protect the heart. Here are five of the musts when it comes to establishing a heart-friendly diet.
Avoid Excess Fats.
Excess fats, especially saturated fats, should be limited. Cut down how much butter is used. If you’re craving a baguette spread with butter, skip the butter and dip the bread in extra virgin olive oil that’s mixed with fresh garlic and herbs.
Fattier cuts of meat need to be eaten in moderation. If you really crave a steak, limit yourself to a steak each month or so. Focus your daily diet on lean cuts of meat, such as chicken breast, and seafood.
Boost Fiber and Whole Grains.
Increase the amount of fiber you eat. You can do this by eating whole grains every day. Some of the better options are quinoa, barley, cracked wheat, and brown rice. Dried lentils and beans are other good ways to increase fiber.
Cut Sugar Intake.
Reduce your sugar intake. If you can’t drink your coffee without teaspoons or tablespoons of sugar, try switching to agave nectar or stevia instead. If you are a chocoholic, stick to dark chocolate with a high cacao percentage. When making brownies to ease a craving, use almond flour or whole wheat flour in place of all-purpose flour and sweeten the brownies with applesauce or no-sugar-added fruit purees instead.
Increase Fruits and Vegetables.
When you’re having lunch or dinner, half of your plate should have a vegetable or fruit. Divide the plate into fourths. Half the plate has produce, a quarter has a lean protein, and a quarter has your grain. Mix up your vegetables, too. Corn and potatoes have a lot of starch. Try to focus on vegetables that offer more nutritional value like broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach.
Lower Sodium Usage.
While you do need some sodium, you don’t need excessive amounts. Avoid processed foods that usually are packed with salt. Make your meals from scratch and limit the amount of salt that you add. In place of salt, you can use fresh lemon, lime, spices, or herbs to add flavor.
Has your parents’ cardiovascular health already been impacted? They may need the help of a caregiver. Elderly care services offer many benefits. Meal preparation, assistance with exercise routines, and medication reminders are just a few options.
If you have a loved one who could benefit from elderly care in Berkeley, CA, contact the caregivers at A Better Living Home Care Agency. We help seniors and their families with many levels of home care. Call 925-566-2366 for more information.