Making healthy heart lifestyle changes is a positive commitment to yourself and your loved ones, but it is not always a simple process. Creating a healthy lifestyle can be stressful, time consuming, and often filled with confusing and unhealthy choices.
Along with healthy lifestyle activities such as regular exercise, not smoking, and lowering stress levels, eating a variety of healthy foods is excellent for your heart health. The American Dietetic Association recommends adding these foods to your regular diet to jump start your healthy heart journey.
- Blueberries are packed with the colorful antioxidant, anthocyanin, fiber, vitamin C, and are easy to find year-round. Blueberries are great on their own, but they add amazing flavor to cereal, smoothies, or salads.
- The American Heart Association recommends including omega-3 rich foods into your diet at least twice a week for a healthy heart. Salmon is loaded with protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is easy to cook and has a pleasant flavor. Try grilled or baked salmon paired with a fresh spinach salad or grilled vegetables.
- For many, oatmeal is a staple in a heart healthy diet. Whole grain oats are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and most importantly, cholesterol-lowering fiber. Oatmeal is tasty on its own or it can be dolled up by adding various fruits and berries. Oatmeal is a great substitute when baking. Replacing one-third of the flour in a pancake, muffin, or cookie recipe with oatmeal will add in fiber without taking away from the taste! If you are interested in trying overnight oats for an easy breakfast, visit http://agentsarah.blogspot.com/ for several overnight oat recipes.
- The benefits of eating spinach are too long to list. Just remember, Popeye was on to something! Spinach is loaded with vitamins and minerals, notably folate and iron. If you or someone you know is pregnant or trying to become pregnant spinach should be a regular on the menu. Fresh spinach is delicious in a salad or blended up in a green smoothie.
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension’s Dinner Tonight Program is a great resource for healthy, tasty, and budget-friendly recipes. Visit https://dinnertonight.tamu.edu or follow Dinner Tonight on Facebook for daily recipes and health tips.
Having a healthy heart requires a mixture of activities and lifestyle changes. Strive to create a healthy balance between exercise, diet, and lifestyle. If healthy habits are new to you, start out slow by making small changes over time. Healthy habits do not form overnight, so it is important to be patient with you progress. Remember, Rome was not built in a day!
If you have questions or concerns, please contact me, Sarah.Latham@ag.tamu.edu or (903) 473-4580. To view upcoming events or additional information please visit https://rains.agrilife.org/ or follow Rains County AgriLife on Facebook.