Did you know that the way you prepare and season your foods can directly impact the health of your heart? Eating a balanced diet that includes whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean protein is key for heart healthy eating.
You can also protect your heart and blood vessels by including more healthy fats in your diet (while also cutting back on foods with less healthy fats), by preparing your meals using healthy cooking methods, and by reducing your overall sodium intake.
Choosing healthy fats
Some types of fats are healthier for your heart than others. Healthier fats to choose more often include unsaturated fats (monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids). Good choices include olive oil, canola oil, avocado, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, salmon, & tuna.
Foods high in saturated fat & trans-fat have been shown to raise your bad cholesterol. Sources of unhealthy fats include fatty cuts of red meat, processed meats like bacon and sausage, poultry with skin, fried foods, & high fat dairy products like whole milk and butter. Trans-fats are often found in packaged snacks & desserts.
To limit trans-fats, avoid foods with “partially hydrogenated oil” on the ingredients list. Try to replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats whenever possible. For example, use olive oil in a recipe instead of stick butter.
Get your omega-3s in this week by making Greek Salmon and Veggie Packets
Choosing Healthy Cooking Methods
There are several ways to prepare your meals with no added fat or that only use a small amount of added oil. These include roasting, grilling, broiling, sautéing, stir-frying, poaching, & steaming. Always trim away visible fat and skin from meat or poultry before you cook it.
Choosing Low Sodium Seasonings
Too much sodium can be harmful to people with high blood pressure. High blood pressure can damage to organs and increase risk for stroke. To reduce your sodium intake, eat more fresh foods while reducing your intake of some processed foods.
Experiment with your favorite recipes by leaving out the salt and instead flavor your foods with salt-free herbs and spices. Select no-sodium or low-sodium canned foods. Always check the nutrition label for how much sodium is in 1 serving.
Try low sodium Turkey & Veggie Chili.
To learn more about these topics and living successfully with diabetes, we encourage you to talk to your doctor about referring you to a diabetes educator. NMC Health offers Diabetes Education to help you learn to manage your diabetes.
Get more tasty recipes through the American Diabetes Association.