If you want to improve your overall health and protect your heart, simple changes in your lifestyle and diet can make a big impact. For these changes to stick, you should focus on adding more healthful foods, rather than just taking things out of your daily diet and routine. Here's 5 ways to make that happen!
(BPT) - Your heart is one of the most important organs in your body. It provides your body with the necessary oxygen and nutrients vital for daily survival. If you want to improve your overall health and protect your heart, simple changes in your lifestyle and diet can make a big impact.
For these changes to stick, focus on adding more healthful foods, rather than just taking things out of your daily diet and routine.
1. Add more seafood
Seafood is not only a good source of protein, but also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. The Seafood Nutrition Partnership, citing the American Heart Association, advises eating at least two servings of seafood per week for enough omega-3s and nutrients to show improved health. In particular, fatty fish such as salmon, trout, pollock, barramundi, mackerel, herring, sardines and albacore tuna have the highest amounts of the heart-healthy nutrients that help prevent cardiovascular disease.
To incorporate more fish into your diet, start with the recipe for Easy Lemon Pepper Salmon from The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
When selecting fish, whether fresh, frozen or canned, look for the MSC blue fish label to know you’re choosing sustainable seafood that’s good for you and good for the ocean. The MSC is a global nonprofit dedicated to protecting wild seafood for generations to come. By taking the simple step to look for the MSC label when purchasing seafood, you can help protect oceans from overfishing, support fishermen and fishing communities, and promote traceability — from the ocean to your delicious seafood dish.
2. Seek healthy fats
Not all fats are created equal. With all the fad diets that come and go, the Mediterranean diet continues to top media and nutritionists' lists of best plans for healthy eating. It's also been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The most commonly used fat in the Mediterranean diet is olive oil, which is great for cooking, salad dressings and more. Other healthy fats come from the foods themselves, like the unsaturated fats found in fish, nuts, seeds or avocados.
The Mediterranean approach is also plant-based, adding proteins like fish, lean meat, poultry and dairy (in moderation).
3. Opt for whole grains
Also featured in the Mediterranean plan are whole grains like brown rice, wild rice, whole wheat bread, oats and quinoa. Less-processed grains are healthier because they have both higher nutritional value and better fiber content.
The nutrients in many whole grains — including potassium, iron, phosphorus and more — help boost your heart health. The higher fiber in whole grains aids digestion and can help you keep your weight down, which can also improve your heart's function.
4. Focus on plants
You've probably heard a lot about plant-based eating recently. That's because of the growing awareness of both the health and the environmental benefits of focusing a larger portion of your diet on plants. Including a wider range of differently colored fruits and vegetables — plus nuts, seeds, beans and legumes — will give you the greatest nutritional benefits.
Plants offer tons of nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fiber — and many contain more protein than you might expect. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that eating more plant-based proteins is associated with lower heart disease risk in middle-aged adults.
5. Amp up your movement
Another vital ingredient in a heart-healthy lifestyle is exercise. Adding more daily movement helps you look and feel better, inside and out. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, plus muscle-strengthening exercises at least twice a week. It's always best to consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise plan.
Choosing whole foods over processed foods will improve your heart health. Using herbs and spices can also make your meal plan easier to stick to. Not only do some seasonings — like ginger, garlic and turmeric — offer positive health benefits, but they can also reduce unhealthy cravings by satisfying your taste buds.
What’s good for your heart also can be good for the environment. When you make looking for sustainably-sourced, heart-healthy products part of your routine, you create a win-win for your health and for the health of the planet.
To lose weight in the new year - or any time of the year, instead of jumping on restrictive diet bandwagons, focus instead on consuming real, wholesome foods you can still enjoy that deliver benefits backed by decades of research. Consider these tips for incorporating nutrient-rich foods into a few trending diets to make them work for you.
Resolve to Make Real Nutrition a New Year Priority
(Family Features) A new year signals a chance to renew your commitment to healthier eating, but many of the most popular diets, like the keto diet and paleo diet, eliminate entire food groups, which can cause you to fall short on nutrients you need.
For example, a study in the “Journal of Clinical Lipidology” suggests low-carb diets may not have meaningful long-term benefits for weight or heart health compared to other diets and could actually restrict foods that are good for your heart.
This new year, instead of jumping on restrictive diet bandwagons, focus instead on consuming real, wholesome foods you can still enjoy, like dairy milk, that deliver benefits backed by decades of research.
Consider these tips for incorporating nutrient-rich foods into a few trending diets to make them work for you.
Intermittent Fasting: Skipping meals could do more harm than good if you’re not getting the nutrients you need to be your best. A better bet: balanced, flavorful meals that incorporate multiple food groups. If you really want to try intermittent fasting, consider not eating past a certain time in the evening so you can “fast” throughout the night, and make sure to eat a nourishing breakfast in the morning, like oatmeal made with real milk, topped with fruit and a handful of nuts.
Plant-Packed Plates: If you’re considering a vegetarian or plant-based diet in the new year, it’s important to pack the right nutrients into your meatless meals, particularly protein, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12. Make sure you’re getting enough by enjoying a variety of plant-based foods like beans, nuts, fruits and vegetables along with some other thoughtfully chosen options. Real dairy milk is a good choice in a vegetarian diet, providing as much as eight times more protein than many non-dairy milk alternatives. Each 8-ounce glass is also a source of vitamin D, and an excellent source of calcium and vitamin B12.
Focus On Fats: If you’re keeping closer tabs on your fat intake, it’s important to choose the right ones and know that a growing body of evidence suggests not all saturated fats are the same. For example, whole milk, which has more dairy fat than skim or low-fat varieties, may actually help raise “good” cholesterol and could be considered part of a diet that’s also good for your heart, according to research in the “European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.”
Calorie Conscious: Monitoring the calories you consume versus the calories you burn through exercise and everyday activity can help manage the fuel your body needs. When you consistently burn more calories than you eat, you are more likely to effectively lose weight. However, that doesn’t mean you have to forgo all your favorite foods. For example, when it comes to dairy, swapping full-fat options for skim or low-fat alternatives is one way to receive the same nutrient package with less fat and calories.
Make better nutritional balance a priority this new year and find more advice and recipes at MilkLife.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty ImagesSOURCE:
Plant-based diets are a tenet of sustainable eating and mushrooms are often included as part of the movement. A versatile ingredient with many fresh varieties to choose from, it’s simple to incorporate mushrooms into meals such as Three Mushroom and Garlic Grilled Pizza, Roasted Mushroom and Wheat Berry Salad and Sauteed Mushroom and Sun-Dried Tomato Avocado Toast.
Sustainable Eating Made Easy
(Family Features) The needs of grocery shoppers are seemingly always evolving, and now more than ever, they want to know where and how their food is produced and what impact it has on the environment. This is commonly referred to as “sustainable eating,” and its popularity is growing among shoppers.
Plant-based diets are a tenet of sustainable eating and mushrooms are often included as part of the movement. Known for their inherent umami flavor and nutrition properties, mushrooms are recognized for their unique growing process and need for minimal natural resources used during production, which makes mushrooms both healthy on the plate and gentle on the planet.
In addition, mushrooms are a versatile ingredient, and with so many fresh varieties to choose from, it’s simple to incorporate them into most meals. Three Mushroom and Garlic Grilled Pizza can satisfy the entire family, while favorites like Sauteed Mushroom and Sun-Dried Tomato Avocado Toast may hit the spot morning, noon and night, and quick sides such as Roasted Mushroom and Wheat Berry Salad can be an easy addition to dinner plates.
For more information on mushroom sustainability as well as additional recipes, visit mushroomcouncil.com .
Roasted Mushroom and Wheat Berry Salad
Recipe courtesy of the Mushroom Council
Sauteed Mushroom and Sun-Dried Tomato Avocado Toast
Recipe courtesy of the Mushroom Council
Three Mushroom and Garlic Grilled Pizza
Recipe courtesy of the Mushroom Council
The Mushroom Sustainability Story: Water, Energy and Climate Environmental Metrics (Infographic caption)SOURCE:
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