Yoga mats, kale salads, fitness trackers, standing desks and gym memberships. It seems like everywhere you look, people are taking strides to get healthier. And with good reason.
The adults across the world aged 20 and older suffer from obesity, and heart disease accounts for one out of every four deaths. Despite these harrowing numbers, many people have difficulty embracing a heart-healthy lifestyle, especially when it comes to food.
Part of the reason for this is that too often people think that eating right involves a list of what you cannot eat.
It’s easier to focus on all the things you can eat.
As February is American Heart Month, it’s a perfect opportunity to consider how easy and delicious it is to stick to a heart-healthy diet.
Sometimes, at the end of the day, you just want a quick meal. Unfortunately, most fast food options and restaurants don’t offer heart-healthy options.
* No more than 500 calories
* No more than ≤ 3.5 grams of saturated fat
* No more than 600 mg of sodium
* A serving from at least two of the following food groups: Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs or nuts; fruits and vegetables; milk, yogurt or cheese; bread, cereal or pasta
* No added sugar and no trans fats
There’s a widespread misconception that a heart-healthy diet involves giving up all meat and snacks and only eating kale and whole grains.
That’s far from the truth. Many of the best cuts of meat are also ideal for a heart-healthy diet and can satisfy the most ardent carnivore. Pork tenderloin, skinless chicken, and turkey breasts are naturally lean, while fatty fish, like salmon, trout, and tuna, are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids.
As far as snacks go, it’s really just a matter of embracing things like fresh fruit with low-fat yogurt, vegetables, and hummus, or a savory mix of nuts like almonds, walnuts, and pistachios.
The list goes on, but the point is that a heart-healthy diet doesn’t have to be limiting; rather, it’s full of delicious food.