The American Heart Association designates February as American Heart Month (perfect month for heart health, right?). Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. The organization's hope is that people will become more aware of heart health and work to educate themselves about cardiovascular disease and how to help prevent heart disease.
One good way to help prevent heart disease is through the food we eat -- and the food we shouldn't eat (or at least cut back on).
Good for you foods
We all might take for granted that we know what healthy food is (and isn't), but it's always good to get a reminder. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for a healthy diet, get your fill of whole grain foods, fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy products (instead of the full-fat kind). Keep your meats lean, if you eat them, and add fish, beans, legumes and nuts to your diet, too.
For an array of heart-healthy recipes that are as good for you as they are delicious, look no further!
This is an easy, basic egg recipe that you can easily enhance with the addition of colorful veggies like asparagus, zucchini or tomatoes. What a versatile way to start your day!
What a combo! Veggies, crunchy walnuts (a great source of omega-3s) and fabulous fruit! This makes a lovely lunch or light dinner.
Forget about all the batter and deep-fried varieties. You'll find a good catch for great-tasting fish recipes on this list!
This rich barely dish seems too good to be true! This filling meal is healthy and delicious!
Reach for something else
Unfortunately, many snack foods we love are filled with stuff we don't want or need. That includes trans fats and saturated fats. Even if your favorite box of cookies or crackers says "reduced fat," take another look. Read the labels and keep an eye out for those items.
Steer clear of foods high in cholesterol, sodium and added sugars (found in drinks, too), and foods with trans fats and saturated fats, or at least try to keep them to a minimum. Sodium sneaks up often in prepared foods like soups or microwave and frozen foods, as well as in fast food.
When snack time sneaks up on you, be mindful of what you grab! Along with fruits, veggies and a variety of nuts, check out this list of healthy snacks!
Stop and swap
You may get frustrated trying to learn about a healthier diet, but there are many ways to enjoy the foods you love if you have a few pointers handy! Review how you can make healthy swaps in your diet, while keeping the flavor you love.
Armed with good tools -- like good, healthy recipes -- it easier to eat right! Celebrate American Heart Month this month and all year long the healthy way! If you're looking for more information about nutrition and heart health in general, visit the American Heart Association.
More healthy recipes to try
Heart-healthy Greek diet
Carrot-mushroom barley stew
Tuna salad in radicchio bowls