Mike Gorski, RD, CD, MG FitLife
Throughout the country, February is known as National Heart Health Month. Keeping your heart healthy is absolutely key to a long, enjoyable life. Participating in regular exercise, eating a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and quality protein sources are all things you can do to improve your heart health.
Reducing sodium intake, cutting out the trans-fats (cookies, premade baked goods, fried foods, etc), limiting your highly processed carbohydrates, and sitting less are all things that you can also work on cutting out of your life to help improve your heart health.
However, there are a few specific days in February that relate to heart health in more detail.
February 8 – Oatmeal Day
Oatmeal is a great source of complex, high fiber carbohydrates. The fiber in oatmeal can help lower your bad cholesterol and improve heart health. A half cup of uncooked oats contains 28 grams of carbohydrate, and 4 grams of heart-healthy fiber.
February 16 – Almond Day
Almonds are a fantastic source of heart-healthy fats. Most of the fat in almonds and other nuts is heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. Eaten in moderation, nuts can be an important part of a healthy diet. Almonds also are a source of Vitamin E.
February 26 – Pistachio Day
Another awesome source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, pistachios are a great snack to help with late afternoon hunger. Buy them in their shells, as this makes it harder to over eat them. Even though they are a very healthy food, nuts are very calorically dense, and when it comes to weight control all calories matter.
February 27 – Strawberry Day
A half cup of strawberries has about 25 calories and adds important vitamin C, fiber, and potassium to our diet. Potassium helps with heart health by counteracting the blood pressure raising effects of sodium, aka salt.