Eat for better heart health this Hypertension Awareness Month
May is Hypertension Awareness Month and a great reminder for us to check our heart health.
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is the most common heart health problem that often goes unnoticed, but simple lifestyle changes and regular blood pressure monitoring can help lower your risk. .
While your family doctor and local pharmacists are great resources, how we feed our bodies can also have a positive effect on our heart health.
As a dietitian, here are my top tips for taking care of your heart.
Add Heart-Healthy Foods – Diet is an important factor in heart health, but making changes to our diet can seem daunting. One tip I like to share to make it easier for you is to look at what you can add to your diet instead of focusing on what should be cut out or minimized. Adding foods with more heart-healthy nutrients will naturally shift your overall diet in a positive direction without making you feel like you’re depriving yourself of the foods you love. A great way to start is to add a plant-based meal to your dinner once a week. Plant-based proteins are a great addition to a heart-healthy diet because they contain fiber, protein, and little to no saturated fat.
Not all fats increase your risk of heart disease. Fats can be divided into three main categories: trans, saturated and unsaturated. Canada’s Food Guide recommends limiting your intake of trans fats and saturated fats, as research has shown that excessive consumption of these fats is linked to heart disease. These fats are mostly found in animal products such as meat and dairy, in addition to processed processed foods such as baked goods and fried foods. However, unsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fats, are a good option because they can help lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise your “good” HDL cholesterol. Nuts and seeds, avocados, vegetable oils, and fatty fish are all great sources of unsaturated fats. Try replacing butter with oils high in unsaturated fats like olive oil and/or avocado oil.
Fiber is good for the heart — Fiber is another important nutrient for heart health. Fiber can also be divided into subcategories: insoluble and soluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, acting like a gel, and can help lower cholesterol and reduce fat absorption. Good sources of soluble fiber are oat bran, barley, legumes (peas, beans, lentils) and chia or flax seeds. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water but helps keep us regular and promotes a healthy digestive system and sources include nuts, whole grains, vegetables and fruits. It’s important to include both forms of fiber in our diets, but soluble fiber is especially recommended for its heart-healthy benefits. Try to aim for 10g of soluble fiber per day.
If you need extra help eating for your heart, I’m here to help. As a registered dietitian, I can work with you individually to create a unique, easy-to-follow plan. To book a virtual appointment with me, go to yourindependentgrocer.ca/dietitians.
And to help you eat, here is a tasty but healthy recipe for grilled Pico de Gallo prawns
• 1 package (400g) raw tiger zipper prawns
• 1 tablespoon of 100% pure safflower oil
• 1/2 tsp ground coriander
• 1/2 cup mild Pico de Gallo salsa
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1. Shell the prawns, leaving the tails. Combine shrimp, oil, cumin, cilantro and 1/4 cup pico de gallo in a bowl, stirring until coated. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
2. Preheat barbecue to medium-high.
3. Place shrimp on grill; cook 3 to 4 minutes per side or until browned and cooked through. Place in a clean serving bowl; toss with the remaining pico de gallo.
If desired, garnish with lime wedges and cilantro sprigs. Serve hot.
Zahra Tromsness is a registered dietitian at Peter’s Your Independent Grocer in Kelowna.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.