Happy National Nutrition Month! Developed by the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics to celebrate the role of nutrition and following a healthy lifestyle, NNM annually highlights the many ways food influences our lives and how that influence goes beyond what’s on our plate. This year’s NNM theme, “Go Further with Food,” is all about thinking beyond food as nourishment, which does just that.
When you’re focused on heart health, there are a number of dietary choices that can help protect your ticker. Get plenty of fiber, enough omega-3s, and keep the salt low. These recipes don’t compromise on flavor or convenience in order to make heart-smart eating an achievable course of action.
One of my most recent posts was about the power of having (and being) a partner when pursuing health goals. Yes, having to “go it alone” on a weight loss plan or healthy lifestyle routine can be a drag, but what might be worse is dealing with a spouse or significant other who doesn’t share your healthy eating plan. Why does this seem to be such a hot-button issue, and what can we do to tame the turmoil that so often occurs in this scenario? Here are some things I’ve learned from my own experience with this problem (and yes, we are still happily married!), and a few tips that might help you, too.
Salmon is packed with omega-3s and micronutrients that are great for your heart and brain, but many people avoid it because of concern over mercury. The fear is legitimate: Atlantic salmon is on the high-mercury fish list. Wild-caught Alaskan salmon, however, is safe as houses. Choose the right salmon and you’re on the right road for fear-free, fantastically fishy nutrition.
Do you know where you’re getting salt in your diet? Sure, you may know when you go for a salty snack, but what about the times when salt sneaks in? Just as a food doesn’t have to taste sweet to contain sugar, a food doesn’t have to taste salty to be salty. It’s easy for us to consume more salt than we realize, especially as most of our sodium intake comes from packaged foods and restaurants, not from the salt shaker. It’s clear that we’re getting more salt than we realize and need strategies to minimize it.
Overnight oatmeal is a piece of cake, and oatmeal is a great food to include in a heart-healthy diet. The only thing to watch out for is added sugar: many of us like our oatmeal covered in sugar. This recipe uses carrots and raisins and spice to minimize the need for sugar while keeping the flavor and texture high. It does include maple syrup, but you can leave the maple syrup out without hurting the flavor if you want to balance the nutrition a bit better.
Fish is packed with nutrients that are good for your overall health, and its high content of omega-3 fatty acids makes it a good ally in maintaining a healthy heart. Cutting down on salt is also generally smart for hearth health, and when you’re cooking spice-filled curries, you don’t need a lot of salt to get a lot of flavor.
We know that exercise is important. The far-reaching benefits include helping to maintain an ideal body weight, reducing stress, preventing injury, boosting bone health and, of course, keeping our heart (our most important muscle) strong and healthy. It’s this last benefit that most of us assume we are experiencing, but are we? Do we really know how to move for our heart?