When it comes to matters of the heart, the secret to keeping yours strong and healthy might be found where you least expect it! (Hint: check your refrigerator, pantry, or grocery list!) Incorporating a heart-healthy diet is key to keeping your body and mind youthful, and maintaining an informed, balanced relationship with food is essential to our vitality. In honor of Heart Health Month, we’ve put together this foolproof list of dos and don’ts to help you make positive, informed decisions when it comes to the food you put in your body. Here you will find tips, recipes, and complementary products that can support a healthy heart, and of course, a long, happy life.
First, let’s start with the things you want to avoid in order to keep your cardiovascular workings in optimal running condition. Here are the top items to steer clear of, along with some healthy alternatives to boost your wellness. For a healthy heart, say no to…
Trans Fats & Hydrogenated Oils: While once thought to be the culprit of obesity and poor heart health, “fat” itself doesn’t actually cause obesity and heart disease. Fat is actually a vital source of energy for the body. While monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good for us, industrial-made trans fats and hydrogenated oils, which are found in many processed, fried, and fast foods, can have dire health effects on the body — especially the cardiovascular system. According to Harvard Health, for every 2% of calories consumed from trans fat per day, you increase the risk of heart disease by 23%.(1) If you love fried food, but want to avoid the potential heartache, get yourself an air fryer! The Kalorik 5.3 Quart Digital Air Fryer Pro XL uses the crisping power of hot air, instead of oil, to cook meals to golden perfection in minutes.
Refined Carbohydrates: In order to keep your heart in top shape, it’s best to limit your intake of refined carbohydrates. These include white flour, pasta, bread, white rice, and sugar. Refined carbs elevate triglycerides, cholesterol, and insulin, putting you at greater risk for cardiovascular problems. If you’re going to eat sugar, opt for natural sources like fruits, honey, agave, or maple syrup. When eating carbs, go for whole grains. They digest more slowly and don’t cause a spike in your insulin, making you full for longer, and supporting a healthy metabolism. You can even get creative and disguise your star carb with a low-sugar veggie alternative instead. For example, use cauliflower in place of rice. Check out this Cauliflower Fried Rice recipe for a satisfying side dish idea. With this slick imposter rice, you definitely won’t miss that vice!
- Red Meat: With mounting evidence against the consumption of red meat due to its negative impact on our heart health, more and more people are turning toward alternative protein sources. Red meat, especially processed red meat, is full of heme iron, saturated fat, sodium, nitrates, and carcinogens which form during cooking. Although it is high in protein and zinc, you don’t have to eat red meat to get these essential nutrients. You can get them from poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, and even some plants. To switch out your red meat for a leaner alternative, try these juicy Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Kebabs. Or, make this succulent Rosemary Turkey Breast. For a seafood option, check out this Pistachio-Crusted Salmon.
Now, we’re going to have a closer look at what you do want to incorporate into your diet. These quick tips will make sure your body is operating on the best possible fuel, so you can stay in top shape. To maintain a healthy heart, say yes to…
Fruits & Vegetables
An exceptional source of vitamins and minerals, fruits & veggies contain thousands of biologically active phytochemicals that support healthy heart function. Many studies have shown that people with diets rich in fruits and veggies have significantly less risk of cardiovascular disease. There are many fantastic heart-healthy recipes to make with these delicious gifts from earth, like these Crispy Air-Fried Artichoke Hearts, this Squash and Chestnut Salad, or this Vegetarian Black Bean Chilli recipe. Or, try Maple Caramelized Carrots and Roasted Everything Sweet Potato with Sweet & Spicy Sauce.
Another super easy way to get your daily intake is by smoothie! The Kalorik 8-Piece Nutrition Blender maximizes nutrient extraction to create vitality-boosting superfood concoctions with all your favorite fruits and veggies. With the included to-go cups for drinking on the go, you can sip your way to a healthy heart anywhere, anytime.
As discussed earlier, fat itself isn’t bad. Certain fats are imperative to your body’s basic function. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated are wonderful for your heart and cholesterol levels. They also make you feel more satisfied after meals, reducing hunger and cravings throughout the day. Sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats include olive oil, avocado, nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and trout. These cold water fish are excellent sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids, as they lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and reduce inflammation.
Most Americans don’t get enough of this essential nutrient, so make sure your omega-3 intake doesn’t go unnoticed. This Salmon with Lentils and Lemon Vinagrette recipe gives you the omega-3 fats you need, plus a hefty serving of heart-healthy legumes. Or make this delicious and satisfying Grilled Avocado with Chile Lime Shrimp recipe to improve cholesterol levels. You can also whip up your own nut butters in the Kalorik 1400W High-Powered Blender, to incorporate healthy fats into your daily diet. Add to smoothies, or spread on whole grain toast for an instant heart-loving boost.
Another way to support a healthy heart is through regular tea drinking, green and black tea, especially. Tea is rich in polyphenols, most notably catechins and epicatechins. These powerful natural antioxidants neutralize harmful oxidants which can be detrimental to your cardiovascular system. A long-term health study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology with data from over 100k adults showed that “compared with people who drank fewer than three cups of tea a week, those who drank more had a 20% lower risk of a heart attack or related problem and a 22% lower risk for dying of heart disease.” (2)
Drinking more tea is another gentle way to support a healthy heart. To incorporate this ritual more rigorously into your lifestyle, get yourself an electric kettle. The Kalorik 1.7 L Rapid Boil Electric Kettle with Blue LED boils water in a fraction of the time, so you can streamline your tea drinking ritual.
Sometimes you find benefits where you least expect them! Red wine is full of heart-healthy polyphenols, particularly the phytochemical resveratrol, a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. When consumed in moderation, red wine can support healthy cholesterol levels. Studies are inconclusive, and more research is to be done to really determine resveratrol’s further health benefits, but observationally, a glass of red wine with dinner could have some pro-heart advantages worth looking into. Shop the Kalorik Wine Bar collection to optimize your vino-drinking experience!