Advocating For a Balanced Approach to Heart Health

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Tips for Heart Healthy Meals


Breakfast Tips

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Blueberries are an  excellent source of flavanoids that help blood vessels expand and make your blood and less sticky. Add blueberries to your oatmeal or yogurt for an extra nutrition boost.
Greek yogurt (non-fat) is surprisingly creamy and an excellent source of protein, calcium and Vitamin D. Try non-fat Greek yogurt for breakfast mixed with berries or a small dip of honey.
Oatmeal is a great source of protein and heart healthy soluble fiber. Slow cooked oatmeal is healthier than instant because it won’t raise your blood sugar as much.  Consider oatmeal instead of cold cereal for breakfast.
Eating breakfast is very important for  energy and good health-skipping it may boost your risk of heart disease.
A whole grain English muffin is a healthier choice for breakfast than other refined grain products, including regular bagels,  because it causes a lower spike in blood sugar.
A bagel makes your sugar level rise even more than a frosted donut (best to avoid both!) Foods don’t have to be sugary to make your blood sugar soar.
Apple juice is loaded with sugar with very little fiber. A whole apple, one of the best sources of soluble fiber, is much healthier than its juice.
Eggs from free range hens  have up to 10 times the healthy Omega-3s compared to factory hens.
Juicers vs blenders for morning smoothies: If you make vegetable and fruit smoothies, use a blender that does not filter out the fiber. Many juicers remove the heart healthy fiber.
Ground flax adds healthy Omega-3 to your breakfast. Add some freshly ground flax to oatmeal or yogurt for added nutrition-and a delicious nutty taste.
Sprinkle cinnamon on cereal and yogurt-besides adding extra zing, cinnamon lowers the sugar absorbed from food and is anti-inflammatory.
Drink only small amounts of juice-the whole fruit is healthier than the juice alone because of added fiber and nutrients . Add seltzer for a refreshing spritzer.
Cottage cheese is an excellent breakfast choice. Choose low or non-fat and check labels to avoid the many brands with surprisingly high sodium.
If you eat cold cereal, choose one that lists “whole grain” as the first ingredient.
Fruit with the highest anti-oxidant content include blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, apples, cherries.
Bread labelled “wheat” or “multi-grained” may not have the health benefits you need. Look for “100 % whole grain.”
Consider a smoothie for breakfast: start with low fat milk, yogurt, or soy milk  and add fresh berries and a  banana for a delicious nutrient filled start to your day.
For maintaining energy and concentration, focus on breakfast foods high in protein and low in carbs: including skim or low fat yogurt and milk,  soy milk, occasional eggs, whole grains, and almond butter. Skip bagels, donuts, croissants, scones, and pancakes.

Lunch Tips

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A cup of white rice  will raise your sugar level more than a frosted donut. Skip the rice with lunch or, if you do eat rice, make it brown rice that has 3 times the fiber compared to white rice.
Greens are an excellent source of folate. Each daily portion of dark green leafy vegetables has been shown to cut heart risk by 23%. Good choices are spinach and kale.
Vitamin D is linked to heart health as well as bone health and cancer. Best food sources are fish and non-fat dairy
Choose
When eating a sandwich, cut your carbs in half by eating it “open faced” with only one slice of bread or half a bagel.
Olive oil in salad dressing adds nutrients in surprising ways: oil is needed for better absorption of lycopenes, the heart disease and cancer fighting nutrient found in tomatoes.
When shopping, make sure your basket has more fresh foods than packaged.. If the food has a label, its probably not as healthy as fresh.
Cheese and milk from grass fed cattle, compared to typical grain fed, have higher levels of omega-3 and up to 5 times the level of CLA, a healthy fat linked to  prevention of heart disease and cancer.
Chinese food for lunch? Healthiest choices are stir fry vegetables with chicken or fish. Cut down on rice, especially fried and ask for “low salt” and no MSG.
Mexican food for lunch? The healthiest options are bean or chicken burrito salad or bowl (skip the tortilla and taco). Garnish with salsa instead of sour cream and cheese. And hold the chips!
Sparkling water with lemon or lime is a healthy substitute for soda. Cutting out 1 soda/day will lead you to  lose 1 pound a month.
Lentils are a great addition to lunch, either in soup or added to your salad. Lentils are very high in protein, fiber, folate, and magnesium-a heart healthy powerhouse.
Whole wheat bread is made from whole wheat pounded into flour. This process changes the grain to cause a higher bump in sugar level than eating the cooked whole grain.

Dinner Tips

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The recommended salt intake for most people is only 1/2 teaspoon. In place of salt, consider black pepper, fresh herbs, or a splash of lemon juice.
Nature’s Genius in Color Coding: Choose vegetables with as wide a range of colors as possible because each color has unique nutrients.
Whole grains lower your risk of heart disease. Excellent choices include quinoa, oats, brown rice, barley, bulgur, whole wheat, and farro.
Beans are an excellent side dish in place of a starch and a great source of protein, fiber, and folic acid . Healthy choices are black beans, soybeans, chick peas.
Grass fed beef: if you eat beef, choose lean cuts of “grass fed”. Beef from grass fed cattle has a much higher levels of healthy omega-3’s than conventional grain fed cattle.
Olive and canola oil are the healthiest oils because of the high content of heart healthy monounsaturated fats that are anti-inflammatory and raise the “good cholesterol” HDL.
Salmon is an excellent dinner choice because it among the highest Omega-3 with the lowest level of toxins. Choose “wild caught” whenever possible to reduce exposure to toxins.
Vinegar can significantly cut the amount of  sugar absorbed from a meal. Use vinegar and olive oil dressing on your salad before lunch and dinner.
Surprisingly, “sweet” potatoes do not spike your sugar level as much as white varieties and, as a bonus, they pack a higher vitamin portfolio.
Shoot for 5 servings of vegetables per day.  Eating lots of vegetables, as part of a Mediterranean Diet, has been shown to reduce the risk of a heart attack by a dramatic 70%!
Newer versions of whole grain pasta are not only delicious, but also packed with many more nutrients than white pasta-and whole grain choices won’t raise your sugar level nearly as high. Best to prepare al dente (less cooked).
Despite having having no calories, diet drinks may increase your appetite and lead to weight gain. Replace with sparkling water flavored with lemon or lime for a healthy, refreshing beverage to replace sodas.
Mushrooms exposed to sunlight are highly effective at producing large quantities of Vitamin D. 10 minutes of sunlight has been shown to triple Vitamin D content. Save your skin and start your own Vitamin D factory!
Want to raise HDL (your “good” cholesterol)? Cutting carbs from sugary desserts and starches is one of the best ways to boost your HDL.
Organic Priority: the most important produce to buy organic to avoid higher levels of pesticides include: apples, strawberries peaches, grapes, blueberries, lettuce, spinach, and kale.

Snack Tips

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For a great mid-day snack consider apple wedges and almond butter.
Nuts: a handful of nuts 4 days a week will cut your risk of heart disease by 1/3
Edamame is a delicious snack and one of the best sources of soy protein. 1 cup yields 16 grams of protein and more than the daily requirement of folate. Boil, drain, and keep in disposable pouches for the refrigerator, car, and office.
Baby carrots are a refreshing snack. One handful (6 baby carrots) has more than 2 grams of protein, and more than double the your daily requirement of Vitamin A. Store in disposable pouches and refrigerate for home or work.
Guacamole is rich in healthy monounsaturated fat that raises HDL, the “good” cholesterol. Guacamole with whole grain crackers or pita is a great power snack.
Potassium in fruit and vegetables helps to keep your heart and blood pressure healthy: Best fruit sources are: bananas, oranges, melons, and peaches. Best vegetable sources: spinach, tomatoes, and avocados.
Hummus and whole wheat cracker-a low glycemic load snack, rich in fiber and protein, and delicious!
Did you know that popcorn is a whole grain? Air popped popcorn, minus the butter sauce, is an ideal snack.
Dark chocolate lower blood pressure, widens blood vessels, and makes blood less sticky. A healthy snack is 2 oz of > 60% cacao dark chocolate.
Red Fruit: each vibrant color has unique health benefits: Red apples, strawberries, raspberries, and pink grapefruit are rich in lycopene and quercetin, potent anti-oxidants with heart and cancer fighting properties.
Purple Fruit: each vibrant color has unique health benefits:  Blueberries, grapes, and raisins are rich in anthocyanins and resveratrol, potent anti-oxidants with heart and cancer fighting properties.
A sweet indulgence now and then: when you are out and want a sweet 	dessert, manage the sugar and calories by splitting a dessert or 	ordering the “kiddie” size. The first few bites are the most satisfying-the rest just adds inches!
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