With 1 in 4 women dying from heart disease in the United States – and with risk factors steadily on the rise – it has never been more important to adopt heart-healthy habits early on. According to the American Heart Association, a healthy diet and lifestyle are the best weapons in the fight against the disease.
To help spread awareness and encourage women to lead a more heart-healthy lifestyle, especially as February is American Heart Month, Dietitian and Food Network star Ellie Krieger shared ten tips, below, to incorporate into daily routines.
Eat the rainbow.
Naturally bright colored foods not only make for a visually-appealing dish, they are also good for you. Different colors represent different antioxidants present in the food. For example, lycopene makes tomatoes red and anthocyanins make blueberries blue. By incorporating a variety of colors into your produce options, you supply your body with these health-promoting phytonutrients while creating a beautiful meal.
Incorporating daily physical activity into your life not only keeps you feeling and looking your best, it also helps maintain heart health, aids with more consistent sleeping habits and energizes you throughout the day. Even if it’s just for 15-20 minutes, most people find that a quick walk, hike, jog or bike ride makes a difference.
Swap out recipe ingredients for heart-healthy versions.
When cooking with a recipe, as the chef you have the ability to choose which exact ingredients you incorporate into your dish! Making small adjustments, such as swapping out a heavy cooking sauce for an equally as flavorful lighter option like Campbell’s Healthy Request Condensed Tomato soup, or opting for low-fat milk in lieu of regular will yield food that’s lower in bad fat and calories and more nutrient dense.
Eat Until You Are Satisfied, Not Stuffed.
A great way to manage portions, and in turn help keep weight in check, is to pay attention to your level of satisfaction during a meal and stop eating before you actually feel full. It takes approximately 20 minutes for your brain to communicate to your stomach that it is full, so if you eat to the point of being full before that message is communicated, you will wind up overeating. An easy guide is to stop when you are about a 5 or 6 on the full scale (out of 10).
Choose American Heart Association approved products.
The American Heart Association applies their iconic check mark to foods that meet their strict dietary guidelines and they find worthy of being considered heart-healthy. Campbell Soup Company offers 80 options that meet the criteria for the American Heart Association’s heart check mark.
Use Healthy Oils.
For heart-health it is best to use butter only sparingly. In many recipes you can simply swap the butter for more heart-healthy oils, such as olive oil or canola oil, which are both rich in good-for-you monounsaturated fat.
Reduce stress in your life.
Stress can wreak havoc on your body and can have negative implications on heart health. Negative side effects include higher blood pressure, trouble sleeping and a weakened immune system. Find something in your life that helps you reduce stress, such as a funny television show to watch, an exercise class to participate in or a hobby, such as cooking or crafting.
Incorporate healthy nuts into your diet.
Nuts are loaded with heart-healthy fats, fiber, protein and other nutrients which are essential to a balanced diet. By incorporating them into yogurt or cereal along with fruit for breakfast or throwing them into your bag for a quick afternoon snack, you will get a satisfying crunch that helps keep you fuller longer.
Many of us eat so fast we barely taste our food, or we nibble and pick all day not realizing how much we are really eating. Slow down a bit and take a moment to really savor the flavors in your food and chew it well. When you do, you enjoy your more and wind up eating less. Plus eating more slowly can improve digestion.
Toast to a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Many studies show that moderate alcohol consumption, which is defined as one drink a day for women and two for men, can have a positive effect on heart health. Red wine, in particular, has the added benefit of containing the antioxidant resveratrol. If you don’t already drink, don’t feel like you need to start, but if you do, know you can feel good about that glass of wine with dinner.
For more heart healthy tips follow Ellie Krieger on Facebook.
This information is brought to you by Campbell’s Kitchen. No compensation was received.