February is American Heart month sponsored by The American Heart Association. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States; 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease.
For some good news, however, heart disease can often be prevented by making healthy food and lifestyle choices. As a nutritionist, I often work with clients to help them develop a healthy diet and lifestyle to prevent heart disease.
Below are 11 simple — and healthy — tips for heart health.
1. Start your day with a bowl of oatmeal.
Oatmeal not only tastes yummy but it is also good for the heart as it is rich in soluble fiber, shown to reduce cholesterol levels. Beta glucans, the kind fiber in oatmeal, may be particularly beneficial for heart health and for weight control. Oatmeal also contains magnesium and potassium, minerals which contribute to a healthy heartbeat.
2. Watch your portion by using a smaller bowl and spoon.
A simple way to practice portion control is to use smaller plates; we tend to eat less when we use smaller plates and bowls. And… use a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon — you will probably eat even less.
3. Top your oatmeal with sliced banana.
Bananas are rich in vitamins and minerals, in particular potassium, which help promote heart health. They are also relatively low in calories and high in fiber to help keep your weight at bay.
4. Include a bean soup for lunch.
Beans contain soluble fiber which help lower cholesterol. Lentil and split pea soup are great choices. They are also filling and help keep you satisfied.