February is American Heart Month! Did you know heart disease is the number one cause of death among adult men and women?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, half of all Americans have at least one of the three main risk factors for heart disease: High blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking.
Eating healthy is one key step to prevent heart disease. What food groups should be included in your diet to improve heart health?
Lush green vegetables like kale and spinach are packed with vitamins and minerals that control blood pressure. Leafy greens also help clear the arteries of plaque buildup, which lowers risk of heart disease. Per the American Heart Association, aim for five servings a day.
Swap out refined grains for whole grains, which have more fiber, protein and vitamins. Whole wheat, brown rice, oats, barley and quinoa are all connected to a lesser risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. The recommended number of servings is six per day.
Berries have nutrients and antioxidants that combat bad cholesterol, control blood pressure and improve blood clotting. A heart healthy diet includes four servings of berries a day, such as blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.
Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna have omega-3 fatty acids that lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends two to three servings per week. If you don’t like seafood, you can take fish oil supplements.
Walnuts & Almonds
Natural, unsalted nuts like walnuts have fiber, magnesium, copper and manganese to reduce bad cholesterol and inflammation. Almonds are another nutritious nut, also with fiber and monosaturated fats to lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Aim for five servings a week.
One risk factor of heart disease that’s easily controlled is salt intake. A diet high in salt can damage the heart and increase blood pressure. To add flavor to your meals without salt, use fresh herbs like garlic, thyme, oregano and rosemary.
Eating healthy helps with disease prevention, weight management and fuels the body. At Colony Diner, we offer a variety of healthy options, from our gourmet salads to vegan specialties! To try the expansive menu, visit our Wallingford restaurant today!