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A diet high in saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and added sugars can increase the risk of heart disease by leading to high blood pressure and fatty buildup in the blood. The culprits? Most commonly, fried and processed foods, fatty meats, sugary drinks, high-fat dairy, and desserts that contribute to these issues. To minimize the risk of heart disease, save these foods for special occasions and make some substitutions in your daily lineup! Try moving slowly to a heart-healthy diet full of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. Small changes can help regulate weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure to keep your heart beating strong for many years to come!
So, let’s get down to the heart of the matter. What do heart-healthy changes look like?
Tips for success:
- Eat a variety of fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables without extra sauces or syrups. This helps reduce salt and added sugar!
- Choose whole grain options. Whole grains are packed with fiber, which plays a role in regulating blood pressure and cholesterol. Examples include: whole grain bread, high-fiber cereal, brown rice, oatmeal and more!
- Use smaller dishes. This is an easy way to regulate portion sizes and prevent overeating.
- Choose your proteins wisely. Instead of fried chicken, opt for a grilled, skinless option or a healthy fish such as salmon. By doing this, you can replace unhealthy saturated fats with omega-3 fatty acids, which can help improve heart health.
- Be stingy with sodium. Sodium, or salt, is one of the main contributors to high blood pressure. Choose packaged foods that are low-sodium and try flavoring dishes with herbs and spices instead of table salt.
If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of making dietary changes, you are not alone! Take a step back from the big picture and start with the basics to eat smart for a healthy heart!
Enjoy the recipe of the week:
Credit: ©2020 American Heart Association, Inc.
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