February is Heart Month. And did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women? Whoa, I know. No matter how old you are - heart-health is important NOW. One of the ways to prevent heart disease is through nutrition. Today, I am sharing 5 heart-healthy foods for you to include in your weekly meal plans, along with recipes to try!
Fish is a great source of protein and one way to add more variety to your weekly meal plans. You can simply replace chicken or pork meals you currently make with fish! Fish, especially fatty fish like salmon, is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is an essential fatty acid. Why are omega-3 fatty acids essential? Because our bodies do not make omega-3 fatty acids naturally and must get them from the foods we eat.
The recommendation for fish is to aim to enjoy it twice a week. But if fish is not something you eat regularly right now, consider incorporating it just a few times a month to start, and work towards fish weekly then fish twice weekly.
Fish recipes we recommend you try:
Avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, which are actually heart-healthy fats that we want to include in our diets. Monounsaturated fats help to increase our "heathy" HDL cholesterol (which we want to be high).
Avocados are also high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Fiber is important for heart health because it also increases our HDL cholesterol levels and lowers our "lousy" LDL cholesterol levels.
Avocado recipes we recommend you try:
Nuts are also an awesome addition to your diet -- almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios... the list could go on! Nuts are an excellent source of heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats, vitamin E and other vitamin and minerals.
Nut recipes we recommend you try:
Legumes -- such as lentils, black beans, chickpeas, peas and other beans -- are super nutrient-dense foods (aka they contain a LOT of nutrition). Legumes are a great source of protein, iron, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Due to their protein content, beans and legumes are a wonderful way to add variety to your meals by replacing meats with them. (See our recipe recommendations below!)
Legume recipes we recommend you try:
Berries are a delicious addition to your diet for a heart-healthy boost! Berries are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These small fruits are nutrition powerhouses! You can choose berries that are fresh or frozen to enjoy them any time of the year.
Berry recipes we recommend you try:
Which heart-healthy food(s) are you most excited to try more of? Share with us by commenting below or tag us at @themealplanningmethod!