5 Fresh Ideas to Avoid Heart Disease
Our diet and lifestyle can have a big impact on our overall health â€“ especially our heart health. Heart disease is the #1 killer in America, beating out both cancer and strokes. The Standard American Diet (aka SAD) tends to include a lot of empty calories, excessive saturated fat and minimal fruit and vegetable intake. This, combined with a relatively low level of daily activity, puts the majority of Americans at risk for developing risk factors for heart disease, such as hypertension, high cholesterol and obesity. There is good news, though! You can reduce your risk for developing this dangerous disease and falling victim to the Standard American Diet through simple lifestyle changes.
- Be active â€“ The AHA recommends 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. The important thing is to find something you enjoy doing; whether itâ€™s tennis, skiing or mowing the lawn, make a point to move your body!
- Eat more plants â€“ Most Americans do not eat their recommended 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day and could benefit from eating more. Fruits and vegetables are typically lower in calories, and are rich in healthy carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. See below for a delicious plant-based dinner recipe!
- Donâ€™t be a (cigarette) butthead â€“ According to the CDC, smoking continues to be the largest preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S. Kick the habit and after just 1 year your risk for heart disease is less than half that of a smoker!
- Be fiber-full â€“ New research regarding the effects of dietary fiber and cholesterol levels is encouraging. Gel-forming soluble fibers such as b-glucan, psyllium and raw guar gum may actually lower cholesterol levels. The most practical way of incorporating more gel-forming fiber in your diet is enjoying a bowl of hot oatmeal each morning!
- Relax â€“ Stress is a major indicator for elevated blood pressure and it can have severe effects on our health. Learn what your stressors are and control how you react to them. Sometimes taking a short walk or completing a deep breathing exercise is enough to reset your mind and help you get through the day.
Caribbean Black Beans and Rice
Recipe created by Amanda Musin, RDN, LD
Take a trip to the Caribbean in less than 15 minutes with this twist on a classic. By substituting half of the whole grain brown rice with cauliflower pearls, we reduce the total carbohydrates and increase our vegetable intake! This recipe contains fiber rich black beans, healthy fatty avocado and vitamin packed mango and tomatoes. Eat your way to a healthy heart and imagine youâ€™re relaxing on a beach under the Caribbean sun!
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1 bag Kroger Frozen Recipe Starters Tricolored Peppers and Onions
16 oz. cauliflower pearls
8 oz. Kroger Instant Brown Rice
1 Tbsp. Kroger Caribbean-Style Jerk Seasoning
1 can Kroger Fire Roasted Tomatoes
2 cans Kroger No Salt Added Black Beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly
1 cup Kroger Frozen Mango Cubes, thawed
1 avocado, peeled and cubed, optional
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges, optional
- Add oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat.
- SautĂ© the peppers and onions for 2-3 minutes or until onions are translucent.
- Add the cauliflower pearls and brown rice, sautĂ©ing for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add seasoning, black beans and tomatoes. Cook for an additional 3 minutes or until juice from tomatoes is mostly absorbed.
- Turn off the heat and add the mango cubes to the pan. Stir to combine.
- To serve, add 1 cup of black beans and rice mixture to a bowl. Garnish with avocado and lime wedge.
Calories per serving (1 cup): 361 Carbohydrates: 58 g Fiber: 10 g Total Fat: 10.5 g Protein: 11.4 g