With Valentine's Day just around the corner, it's a great time to encourage everyone to be sweet to their heart, so they can be sweet to their sweetheart! As a dietitian at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, here are five tips to help you take care of your heart year-round.
- Eat plenty of red fruits and vegetables. Lycopene is an antioxidant that gives red fruits and veggies their bright color. Lycopene also helps reduce the risk of having a heart attack. Great choices are tomatoes and watermelon.
- Choose Feathers and fins over high fat (red) meats — Poultry and fish are excellent lean sources of protein. Just be sure to avoid eating the skin. One great choice is salmon, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that may help protect you against heart disease.
- Grab a handful of nuts, preferably unsalted. They are a great source of vegetarian protein and provide good types of fat (unsaturated). Almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts are great options. Though it is not proven, nuts may help lower bad cholesterols and improve the health of your arteries.
- Use Olive oil instead of butter or margarine when you cook. The monounsaturated fat in olive oil is one of the best types of fat to use in cooking. It provides flavor without the negative side effects for your heart.
- Choose Whole grains when buying breads, cereals and pastas. Whole grains don’t leave anything out. They have the fiber, vitamins, and minerals that you need to help lower your cholesterol and risk of heart disease.
Mark your calendar: The 2013 Community Healthy Heart Fair, sponsored by the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute, runs Saturday, February 9, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Intermountain Medical Center, 5121 S Cottonwood Street, Murray, Utah.
Free EKGs and other free heart and health tests and screenings will be offered, including cholesterol screenings, blood glucose tests, blood pressure checks, and body fat analyses. All tests will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. You can also learn about common heart problems, talk to the region’s leading heart experts, and get information about diet, medication, insurance benefits, and how to enhance your overall heart health.