Today is National Wear Red Day, part of American Heart Month and the Go Red for Women Campaign. The purpose is to raise awareness of cardiac disease risk factors and prevention, especially in women. More women die from cardiovascular disease in the United States than all kinds of cancer combined. I think heart disease is thought of as a man’s disease, but it is a problem for women too.
The good news is that heart disease and it’s complications of heart attack, high blood pressure, and stroke are largely preventable. Diet and exercise can help lower your risks.
Hopefully by now you know you should be limiting your saturated fat and sodium intakes. But what are practical ways to apply this in your diet. Here are a few tips:
1. Sub in healthier fats. Canola oil and olive oil are healthier choices than butter, shortening, and other solid fats. Use these fats when possible.
2. Try cutting the fat in half. You can often cut down the fat in recipes without changing the end result. I often use half the recommended amount of butter in cookies. If making a roux, half the amount of butter generally works as well. If something calls for a high fat sauce or dressing, cut the amount in half or serve it on the side.
3. Stop adding salt. Beyond removing the salt shaker from the table, stop adding salt in your cooking. So many ingredients in your food will already have sodium. If you are worried about the flavor, add a high sodium ingredient that adds flavor along with sodium. Cheese and soy sauce are two easy additions that bring salt and other flavors to the party. Even these should be limited. Remember, salt is an acquired or learned taste. You can lower your tolerance.
What are you doing to help your heart? What can you commit to change? Let me know in the comments!