February is heart health month. Since heart disease is the number one cause of death of Americans, here are 5 easy tips you can do to improve your diet and heart health!
1. Substitute beans for animal protein a few meals each week. Black beans are meaty and delicious and are great in chili, soups, burritos or bean burgers;
2. Add more leafy greens to your meals. Start to add more kale, bok choy, swiss chard, mustard greens to your dishes. If you have trouble getting fresh greens, frozen organic chopped kale is available in your grocer’s freezer section. It can be used in lasagna, pasta sauces, soups and is so easy to add at the end of your dishes;
3. Substitute mustard or avocado for mayo. Reduce your saturated fat and cholesterol by adding mustard, avocado or Veganaise, which does not contain dairy or eggs, to your sandwich instead of mayo. Veganaise tastes and looks similar to Miracle Whip.
4. Eat more whole grains. Many people will tell me they are eating whole grains and then mention whole-wheat bread. Bread is not a whole grain but is made from refined whole grains. Brown rice, millet, barley and oats are whole grains. They not only add fiber to your diet, but also help to lower your cholesterol.
5. Choose a vinaigrette dressing instead of a creamy or sour cream based one. When you order a salad, ask for a vinaigrette and the dressing on the side. Dipping your bite into the dressing instead of pouring it all over the salad will help you control how much dressing you use.
You don’t have to make major changes to your diet to be effective. Baby steps can add up! These tips are a start to getting you on the right path. Make February the start of new habits to help your heart!