It’s February and it’s Women’s Heart Health Month!
Why do women need a special month just for heart health? It’s to bring attention to the number one killer of women – young and old. Heart disease kills six times more women than all the cancers put together. Women need to know that taking care of their heart helps to keep them living and loving a long time.
I will try to avoid making it preachy or boring. I believe that making some little changes in our lifestyle are good for our hearts and can actually enhance the pleasure we get from our lives as well as our food.
Here are my tips to help lighten up your heart, body and soul!
1. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors with extra focus on the dark ones such as blueberries and blackberries. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants which help protect your heart against cell damage. Antioxidants also help to protect you against cancer. Studies are showing that blueberries have several, powerful heart health benefits, as well as vascular health properties. Fruits and vegetables, fresh, frozen, canned, cooked or raw – however you enjoy them best – eat lots of them!
2. Eat whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal, barley, and quinoa. They dress up nicely* and make very satisfying side dishes for your meals. Eat grains right from the stalk, not always ground into flour and baked into loaves of whole or multigrain bread. That’s not to say you must never eat bread; I’m saying include whole grains without processing them into another form. Grains are good for your heart because they’re a rich source of healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, plant enzymes, hormones, and hundreds of other phytochemicals. Grains help lower blood cholesterol levels and help maintain a more stable blood sugar level which may prevent inflammation. Inflammation’s effect on your heart health isn’t fully understood but it’s showing to be an important factor and research is in progress to learn more about its role in heart disease.