February 3, 2020
What is a heart-healthy diet? Joy Hayes, an MHIF population health specialist, Master Gardener and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, tackled this question during her heart-healthy eating presentation at Bachman’s on Saturday, Feb. 1.
Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S. Stroke is the leading cause of disability. The good news is that eight out of 10 deaths from heart disease and stroke could be prevented through healthy lifestyle changes.
To shed light on some of those changes, Joy provided an overview on how foods and flavors from the garden can transform diet. Here are some of the top takeaways:
1. “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants” – Michael Pollan
2. Eat whole foods and limit processed foods.
3. Choose nutrient-rich foods including vegetables and fruits. If all Americans ate five servings of vegetables and fruit daily, 30 percent of heart attacks could be eliminated.
4. Healthy fat is an essential part of healthy eating. Choose unsaturated fats — both poly and mono-unsaturated fats.
5. Steer clear of unhealthy fats. Sources of unhealthy fats include: partially hydrogenated oil, red and processed meats, coconut and palm oil. Use coconut oil on your skin, not in your food.
6. Consume less salt. Excess sodium can increase blood pressure and the risk for heart disease and stroke.
7. Flavor with spices and herbs. Growing your own herbs is easy and can help keep the cost down. Herbs can be grown indoors and out. They add interest and fragrance in your home and garden.
8. Be mindful of the beverages you consume. Choose sugar-free drinks and consume alcohol in moderation. Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure, cause weight gain, raise triglycerides and cause heartbeat irregularities.
9. Follow the My Plate method. For more information, go to www.choosemyplate.gov
10. Nourish your body throughout the day and make small changes that fit your lifestyle. That can include:
a. Cooking more at home with whole ingredients.
b. Eat more plant-based foods and plan to go meatless a few times a week.
c. Make your own healthy salad dressings, sauces and dips.
d. Eat more vegetables and fruits as snacks and as part of meals.
These are simple steps that we know contribute to a healthy lifestyle, but sometimes putting it into practice is the hardest part! To help, here’s a quick recipe card for Garden Fresh Grain Bowl and a Simple Dressing. Use it as a guide when shopping to ensure you have heart-healthy ingredients on hand!