American Heart Month is a time when we, as a country, put extra emphasis on spreading awareness about the severity of heart disease, the No. 1 killer of American men and women. The hope is to inspire people to be proactive about their heart health and to encourage them to live a healthier lifestyle. In addition to simply being aware of the ins and outs of heart health, there are many healthy choices we all can make to help prevent life-threatening diseases that can lead to heart attack and stroke. Many small steps can add up to one big journey toward a strong, healthy heart! Here are a few top tips to get you started:
- Go Fish – Replace meat and poultry with seafood at least 2-3 times each week, to fuel your body with heart-healthy nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, we eat enough protein, but not enough protein in the form of seafood. Pro tip: Shift to seafood and take classic recipes for burgers and pasta dishes to a new level of healthy. Here are a few examples to get you started:
- Get Up and Move – Exercising at least 30 minutes a day will keep your blood pumping and your heart strong. Pro tip: Take things a step further than your scheduled workout by incorporating physical activity throughout other parts of your day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, go on a quick stroll during your lunch, or implement a five-minute stretch break in the middle of the workday. Little habits can go a long way!
- Make it the MyPlate Way – Take a tip from MyPlate when planning your meals: Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies, one quarter with heart-healthy protein, and one quarter with whole grains. Pro Tip: Mix it all up! Customizable grain bowls are popular right now, and for good reason. Start with quinoa, add roasted veggies, and top with sautéed shrimp or canned tuna for a delicious, well-balanced meal.