February is Heart Health Month; how are you taking care of your heart? Cardiovascular disease affects approximately 2.4 million Canadian adults. There are many ways in which we can have a positive impact on our heart health to help reduce our risk of heart disease. Here are some helpful tips on how you can take control of your health & reduce your risk as well as a handy 3-day heart healthy meal plan.
- Exercise – brisk walking 15-30 minutes a day at least 3 times per week or a trip to your local fitness club
- Don’t sweat the small stuff! Keeping in check the curveballs life throws at us.
- Breathe! We tend to breath more shallow when stressed. Upon waking, take 3-5 deep inhalations with slow exhalations. It works!
- Do something nice for yourself. Have a massage, go for a walk in nature, visit your local spa to unwind.
- Get enough sleep. Turn off all electronics 30-60 minutes before bedtime.
- Take a bath. Add your favorite essential oils or Epsom salts to help reduce tension in your body.
- Cut the crap. Avoid refined/processed foods. Most contain added sugar, salt and preservatives that don’t benefit you.
- Heart healthy foods
- Essential fatty Acids Omega 3- Salmon or other cold water fatty fish such as mackerel and sardines.
- Ground flax seeds or oil, Chia, Hemp or Pumpkin seeds and Walnuts
- Avocado- as a stand-alone, added to a salad or smoothie or as a cooking oil
- Fibre-rich foods- beans, legumes, fruit and vegetables
- Phytonutrient rich- dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, collard, bok choy, broccoli, Swiss chard and romaine) Red, orange and yellow vegetables/fruit (peppers, tomatoes, carrots, squash, melons, citrus and berries) garlic, onion, chives and leeks.
- Anti-oxidant rich foods such high in carotenoids, lycopene and vitamin c will keep those arteries clear of plaques, reduce inflammation and aid in detoxification support. These foods include berries, herbs and spices and teas. Blueberries, Blackberries, Cranberries, Goji berries, pecans, artichokes, kidney beans and cilantro are all foods extremely high in anti-oxidants.
- Quit smoking
- Consume alcohol in moderation
- Surround yourself with positive people
- Reduce mental environmental clutter
3 Day Heart Healthy Meal Plan
- stay well hydrated throughout the day Breakfast
- Start each day with 6-8 oz glass of water with ½ squeezed lemon or 1 oz. of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
- Lunch: Try to avoid heavy to digest lunches. They can drain your energy and tempt you to go for sugar or caffeine
- Dinner: Eat at least 3 hours before bedtime
- Non-caffeinated teas are great post dinner such as peppermint, chamomile and ginger
- Snacks: Veggie sticks, seed crackers, smoothies, nuts
Breakfast: Cup of Green Tea, Cooked Oatmeal with cinnamon & pure maple syrup or honey for added sweetness
Lunch: Spinach Salad with chopped walnuts, chopped apple and shredded carrot.
Dinner: Baked Salmon with steamed vegetables such as broccoli or asparagus sprinkled with olive oil and sesame seeds
Snack: Carrot and celery sticks with Hummus
Breakfast: Green Smoothie with scrambled eggs
Lunch: Vegetable or lentil soup with seed crackers
Dinner: Vegetarian Chilli, guacamole with a few tortilla chips (this can be a snack on its own as well)
Snack: ½ cup of nuts such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios or macadamia
Breakfast: Yogurt Parfait with berries and granola. Greek or non-dairy yogurt such as almond or coconut.
Lunch: Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with your favorite veggies and *Easy Salad Dressing
Dinner: Vegetable Stir Fry (protein: could add sliced chicken breast, prawns or firm tofu)
Snack: Fruit: apple, orange, pear, banana. Seed crackers with nut or seed butter
*Make extra dinner servings to have for lunch or dinner the next day.
*Easy Salad dressing- 1/2 cup of Olive, Avocado, Flax, Walnut or Hemp oil
2 tbsp. of lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, balsamic or red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste (you can also add a dash of your favourite herbs)