Grace Weatherby
/ Categories: WELLNESS, 2024

Food Alternatives to Improve Your Heart Health

Improving your heart health may sound intimidating but the truth is small, incremental changes can go a long way to improving the quality and length of your life. Among the easiest of changes to make are dietary ones. Best of all, you don’t have to sacrifice flavor or spend extra money to make your diet more nourishing. All it takes is a little extra consideration and a desire to do right by your heart.

Here are some simple food swaps that can make a difference today:

Other ways to improve heart health through diet include:

Salt Alternatives: Given a teaspoon of salt contains 2300mg of sodium—more than the daily recommended amount for most individuals—salt alternatives are a great way to keep your blood pressure and heart health in check.  Some great salt-free alternatives to bring more flavor to your food include herbs and spices, garlic, lemon juice or zest, black pepper, dried onion flakes or onion powder, nutritional yeast, balsamic vinegar, apple cider and red wine vinegars, and ginger.

Make your own salad dressing: Thanks to an abundance of copycat recipes online, you can create healthier version of your favorite salad dressings at home for less money than the bottled version. If the recipe calls for vegetable oil, be sure to use olive, or avocado oil for a big heart boost. 

Look for whole grain options: When choosing bread, crackers, cereal, or snacks, look for 100% whole grain options.

Go meatless: Cutting back on meat has been shown to benefit overall health. Aim to have one meal a week that’s meatless (hint: mushrooms and beans make filling substitutes). If you do eat meat, look for leaner pieces and trim away any fat or choose skinless options to start.

 

 Kristin Irace, RD, LDN, is a registered dietitian in in-patient, renal dialysis, oncology, and cardiac rehab services at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center.

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