February is American Heart Month
By: Josefina Girón, RDN, LDN
We all know February to be the month of roses, flowers, love, friendship, and hearts. This month let’s practice a little love for our own hearts with the following 7 tips:
1. Include Whole Grains.
Whole grains are more complex and have beneficial nutrients like B vitamins, fiber, and protein. Whole grains will keep you full longer and the fiber may help reduce the risk of a stroke. Try adding whole wheat bread, whole wheat crackers, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa to your next meal. Look for the word whole in the ingredient list or the whole grain stamp on the food package.
2. Watch Your Overall Salt Intake.
Sodium is the scientific term for salt. When consumed in large amounts it can increase blood pressure. Look for items that are lower in sodium. The %DV on the label is a good guide – 5% is a low source and 20% or higher is a high source!
3. Increase Fiber.
Fiber is one of those award-winning foods. It helps to lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar levels, and keep you full longer! The American dietary guidelines recommend consuming between 22-28g of fiber daily for women. Great thing is that you can find fiber in a wide variety of foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. You can also check out the nutrient fact label to see how much fiber is in each serving.
4. Use Heart-Healthy Fats.
Yes, we do need fats! Opt for polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These fats help lower LDL (lousy) cholesterol. You can find them in nuts, seeds, fish, avocados, and vegetable oils.
5. Switch to Lean Proteins.
Lean protein is going to be a protein source that is low in fat. We can choose animal proteins or plant-based proteins. Switching to lean proteins helps reduce the number of saturated fats in our diet which consumed in excess may increase LDL “lousy” cholesterol. Lean meat includes chicken, turkey, 90% lean ground beef, fish, and eggs. Our plant-based proteins are not only lean but also good sources of fiber choose beans, seeds, nuts, and whole grains.
6. Use Herbs and Spices for Flavor.
We want our foods to taste good, right! Pack in the flavor by adding a variety of herbs and spices. Here is a list of some to use; herbs: cilantro, parsley, rosemary, sage, mint, dill, thyme; spices: pepper, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, oregano. In addition, herbs and spices are filled with antioxidants which have heart-protecting properties!
7. Do What Moves You.
Take time to do a physical movement that brings you joy. Whether it be walking, bike riding, hiking, dancing, playing, gardening- whatever it may be, take the time to disconnect and focus on your body and mind.
For more information on all of these tips, visit www.giantfood.com/nutrition and sign up for a FREE class. Stay well!
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About Josefina Girón :
Josefina Girón is a Registered Dietitian (RD), Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist (LDN), and holds a certificate in child and adolescent weight management. Texas born and Florida raised, she received her Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Florida International University. Josefina makes nutrition accessible for our Spanish-speaking customers through classes, consults, and store tours. She is passionate about helping others live their best healthy life by meeting them where they are and empowering them to make healthy eating a fun part of their lives! She is driven to live new experiences and is ready to try different foods, travel, run a race, or go on a hike.
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