Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United State. Still, most of us take one look at breakfast bacon and go for it anyway. Luckily, maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be hard, you just need to know which foods, especially meats, are good for your heart. Here are some things to know for your next grocery run:
You don’t have to give up dark meats completely to take care of your heart, just make sure you look for packages labeled “lean-cut”, “round”, “loin”, or “sirloin”. Look for beef, pork, lamb, even some types of hamburger. Trim the fat off of your meat (this will be easier if it is cold), and certainly don’t cook using the fat (we’ll get to heart-healthy cooking methods in a minute).
White meat is even better for your heart than dark meat, because it’s lower in trans fats and cholesterol. Fish and white meat from birds are probably the best meats options available. You’d be surprised how much range you can get with chicken, turkey, and fish. Use these meats to replace all of your deli favorites, your heart will thank you for it. Look especially for fish, like salmon, that have Omega-3 fatty acids — they are known to help prevent heart disease. If you’re not crazy about eating fish, but you still want the benefits. you can try Nutrigold, Princeton Nutrient on Facebook, or other supplement vendors. And don’t worry about variety, there are all kinds of easy recipes for sandwiches, soups, sauces, salads, and other entrees you can make with white meat.
Meats Not To Eat
Stay away from processed meats. This includes most of your deli meats, sausages, salamis, beef jerky, hot dogs, ham, corned beef, bacon, etc. Anything, cured, salted, smoked, or chemically preserved is bad choice for heart health. These meats are the patrons of both heart attacks and heart disease. A lot of these meats tend to be cheaper than the healthy stuff, so no wonder we eat so much of it. Just remember that spending more money on healthy groceries will likely add years to your life.
First off, almost anything is better than frying your meat. Baking, grilling, broiling, roasting, and stewing your meat is way healthier. Even microwaving your meat is better than frying. It’s usually healthier to remove the skin before you cook in any of these ways (except for roasting, in which you’ll probably want to keep the skin on).
Any kind of meat eaten in excess is a bad idea. You should be aiming for two to three ounce servings of whatever kind of meat you are eating. Cutting unhealthy meats, or too much of any kind of meat, out of your diet is just an invitation to discover more flavors with all the seasonings, legumes, and vegetables you’ll cooking with your healthy meats. And there are lots of delicious recipes out there to make you forget the meat is even missing. Seriously, try eggplant parmesan, it will surprise you. Experienced cooks know that you don’t have to sacrifice health for flavor. Cooking itself is a brain-healthy exercise that will teach you to expand your dietary horizons, maybe even become your neighborhood’s best cook.
What To Eat With Your Healthy Meats?
There are lots of lists of heart healthy foods, but let’s just recap the categories here. Healthy fats found in avocados, almonds, and seeds (flax seed, hemp, etc). Heart-healthy nutrients can be found in berries and whole grains. Beans, chickpeas, dark chocolate, and olive oil are good ideas as well. If you’re worried about your heart, take a look at the Mediterranean diet. It specializes in being heart-healthy, but remember, it’s more of a lifestyle than a short-term health boost.
The human heart is an incredible organ. It works very hard, beating more than 100,000 times a day. It’s easy to take your heart for granted, especially when you’re young, but the heart never really gets a break, and when it stops, you stop. Your diet isn’t the only factor to consider when pursuing a heart-healthy life, but it’s a great place to start.