Heart-Pomegranates
  • Eat 1 meatless meal per day. That doesn’t mean no protein! Try adding beans to chili, soup, or tacos instead of ground beef, add tofu or edamame (soy beans) to a stir fry, or try adding nut butters, chia seeds, or silken tofu to a smoothie for a plant protein boost. This is a great way to increase your fiber intake and decrease saturated fat intake.
  • Replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats to protect your good cholesterol. Saturated fats mainly come from animal sources (meat—especially higher fat red meat, butter, whole milk, cheese, ice cream, coconut oil) and unsaturated fats mainly come from plant sources (olive oil, canola oil, avocado, nuts/seeds, olives, fish). Try using avocado instead of cheese in main dishes, switching to a lower fat milk, eating low fat yogurt instead of ice cream, eating more white meat than red, and cooking with plant based fats instead of animal based fats as a place to start.
  • Snack on fruits and vegetables. This is a great way to easily boost your fiber intake and your antioxidant intake for the day, both of which provide good protection to your heart.
  • Increase your soluble fiber intake. Any fiber is good fiber, but increasing your soluble fiber intake can be a natural way to help reduce your cholesterol. Try incorporating foods like barley, oatmeal, quinoa, bean, lentils, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, sweet potatoes, avocados, oranges, pears, berries, and plums for a soluble fiber boost.
  • Make half of your grains whole grains. This is another great strategy for boosting your fiber intake. If you don’t like brown rice, then make it a point to choose whole grain breads, cereals, and other whole grains like quinoa or barley at other times in the day.
  • Experiment with herbs and spices. See if you can leave salt out of the cooking process and add more herbs and spices. If you don’t know what combinations to try, try a pre-mixed seasoning such as Mrs. Dash. This can be an easy way to reduce the sodium in your diet
  • Get creative with desserts. Desserts don’t have to be off limits in a heart healthy diet! To reduce fat in a recipe, try replacing butter with oil or applesauce. To reduce sugar, try cutting the sugar in half in a recipe, or replace with mashed bananas or applesauce for natural sweetness.
  • Drink mainly water. This is a great way to stay hydrated, and to avoid added sugars or sodium that may be present in flavored drinks (pop, juice, punch, sports drinks, tomato juice). Try adding citrus juice or crushed berries to your water for a punch of flavor, or even herbs like mint or basil with fruit can be a refreshing twist.
  • Eat out less. Restaurant meals are often loaded with calories, fat, and sodium, none of which are good for your heart in excess. See if you can re-create a healthier version of your favorite meals at home by starting with lower fat and lower sodium ingredients, adding more vegetables, and maybe even adding a whole grain. (i.e make a homemade mini pizza with whole wheat English muffins, low sodium tomato sauce, part-skim mozzarella cheese, and bell peppers, chopped spinach, and chopped mushrooms)
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with dark chocolate. Researchers have found that eating 1 square of dark chocolate daily (50-70% cacao) can help to lower blood pressure in those with hypertension.
Black Bean Brownies

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