February is American Heart month and we are not just talking about Valentine’s Day. We are talking about your actual heart and how to keep it healthy through diet and exercise. A healthy heart will keep your body energized by enabling blood to flow easily throughout your body so you feel light and energized.
It’s a fact that heart disease remains the number one killer in both men and women, and certain risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, excess weight, diabetes and lack of aerobic exercise are all factors under your control. Follow our tips for lowering these risk factors so that you will keep your heart healthy and your body energized.
One major way to lower your risk is to increase the amount of “good” fats in your diet and reduce your “bad” fats. “Good” fats include polyunsaturated fats like omega-3s (think salmon, flaxseed and walnuts) that we hear so much about, but how about those monounsaturated fats which are also good for your heart?
Here are some examples of those monounsaturated fats which help to keep your heart healthy and your body efficiently working and energized:
- Vegetable oils: olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil
- Nuts: almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans, pistachios
- Peanut butter and almond butter
The goal is to try to reduce “bad” or saturated fats that come from animal foods like butter, meats, and even from plant based fats like coconut and palm oil, which all contribute to your risk of heart disease. We do this by cooking with olive or canola oil rather than butter and flavoring salads and other foods with slivered nuts rather than full fat cheese.