It’s Heart Health Month!! Every February, the Diabetes Association of Atlanta (DAA) along with partners across the country come together to raise awareness about heart disease prevention. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death for both men and women in the United States. Heart disease is also one of the most preventable diseases. At DAA we strive to prevent heart disease, as people with diabetes are at a higher risk of diabetes. This month we will share tips about living a heart healthy lifestyle! To start the month, we want to talk about heart healthy foods!
What do you think of when you hear a food is “heart healthy”? If the words “bland” or “gross” come to mind, I’m here to tell you that heart healthy foods do not have to be that way! They can be flavorful, hearty, and tasty. While heart healthy foods are prepared with less salt and fat, heart healthy foods introduce you to a wide range of nutritious and delicious options.
Choosing heart healthy foods means you are getting nutrients like healthy fats and vitamins and minerals that will promote a healthy lifestyle each day. These foods include:
Whole grains: Your heart loves whole grains because they contain healthy fats and fiber, which help with your cholesterol levels. Whole grains are easy to get. Try having oatmeal at breakfast, whole grain bread at lunch, and brown rice at dinner!
Vegetables: Whether vegetables are fresh, frozen, or no salt canned vegetables, vegetables will bring several springs to your step. Try having at least one vegetable each time you eat. Worried about breakfast? Try adding vegetables to eggs, smoothies, or even whole-grain oatmeal!
A heart healthy lifestyle also means limiting other foods. These foods include:
Added sugar: Added sugar is found in things like soda, flavored milks, sweets, cereals, and more! The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to 6 teaspoons (25 grams) for most women and children over 2 years and 9 teaspoons (36 grams) for most men. For reference, one 12-ounce can of regular soda has 8 teaspoons of sugar.
Sodium/ “Salty” foods: Think canned soups, frozen dinners, restaurant meals, and condiments like ketchup, mayonnaise, and soy sauce. Eating too much sodium may cause high blood pressure, which may affect your heart. Limiting your sodium to 2,300 mg or further reductions to 1,500 mg of sodium ad day can do wonders for your health.
Click here for heart healthy recipes or reach out to our diabetes nutrition and education coordinator for more tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.