Strategies for “Heart” Health

Since this is February and the month for Valentine’s Day, I thought it appropriate to talk about “Heart Health” Yes, according to the American Heart Association, saturated and trans fats are still targets, and the average American needs to cut saturated fat intake in half.

Trans fat, found in many processed snack and convenience foods, poses the greatest heart risk. They are dropping, but still warrants checking nutrition labels to avoid the trans fats.

What is the best way to replace saturated fat? Concentrate on polyunsaturated fat (found in nuts, seeds and canola oil). Replace cheese in a salad with almonds or walnuts and switch one meal a week from red meat to fish. Monounsaturated fat (found in olives, olive oil, avocado, and peanuts) another good replacement for saturated fats.

Example: replace sour cream with sliced or mashed avocado.

Total nutritional quality matters most and the effects on heart health seem most closely tied to the total nutritional quality of the diet, rather than a focus on individual nutrients, such as total fat or carbohydrate intake. To state it simply, eat a healthy diet, don’t smoke, get regular physical activity throughout the week. And you’ll feel better, too!