Having grown up in the 60’s and 70’s I was taught that I could have it all: education, career, and family. We were not totally misguided; however, it all had a price. Many of our grandmothers left their homes during WWII to man the fields and factories: they were instrumental in an effort to keep America running and support our troops. The price of it all was that women would begin to die at the same rate of heart disease as men.
So in your effort to “have it all” have you ever thought you could fight heart disease, diabetes, stroke and even some cancers with your fork?
Your mother was right – you are what you eat. The best most important thing you can to protect your heart is to eat a healthy diet. It does not matter if you have a family history of history of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, or cancer what you eat and how much you eat can help lower your risk.
If you are one an American who does not smoke, eats well, maintains a healthy weight, you have the best defense against disease.
So here is a list to help you get started on a path to a healthier heart and a healthier YOU.
Make sure your kitchen if filled with a variety of nutrition that allows you to put together nutritious meals in minutes on busy evenings and pack nutritious snacks and lunches for work and school.
In the Pantry
• Beans: Black, pinto, kidney, chickpeas, lentils, refried
• Rice: Brown, long-grain, rice mixes
• Pasta: Whole-wheat spaghetti, fettuccini, penne, bowtie, ramen noodles
• Other grains: Couscous, orzo, cornmeal, whole-wheat crackers, breadsticks, bread crumbs
• Canned tomatoes: Diced, whole, seasoned, sun-dried, sauce, salsa
• Canned vegetables: Mixed vegetables, green beans, mushrooms
• Canned and dried fruits: Applesauce, cranberries
• Sauces: Pasta, pizza, tomato
• Soups: Canned soups, broth, and bouillon and dried soup mixes
• Meats: Canned tuna, salmon, minced clams, and chicken
• Peanut butter
• Evaporated milk
• Vinegars: Cider, red and white wine, balsamic
• Your favorite herbs and spices
• Oils: Olive, canola, peanut, and non-fat cooking spray
In the refrigerator
• Vegetables and fruits
• 100% vegetable and fruit juices
• Reduced-fat milk and yogurt (without added sugar)
• Reduced-fat cheeses: Cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss, Monterey Jack, cottage, Parmesan
• Reduced-fat sour cream and cream cheese
• Whole-wheat and corn tortillas
• Minced garlic
• Sauces: Worcestershire, soy, teriyaki, and chili
• Ketchup and mustard (spicy and Dijon)
• Salad dressings with olive oil or reduced-fat
In the freezer
• Frozen vegetables, fruits, and 100% juices
• Frozen chopped onions and chopped green pepper
• Breads: Whole-grain breads, dinner rolls, English muffins, bagels
• Meats: Chicken breast, ground turkey breast, extra-lean hamburger
• Fish: Red snapper, salmon, cod, flounder, sole
Whole grains vs. refined grains
A whole grain is made up of 3 parts: the bran, endosperm, and germ. Refined grains are made from the endosperm. Because the bran and germ contain much of the vitamins, minerals and all of the fiber found in grains, whole grains have more fiber and nutrients than refined (or processed) grains. Shoot for at least 3 servings of whole-grain foods each day.