February is American Heart Month! It is a great time to assess your cardiac risk factors and make some positive changes, if you need to.
First, know your BMI. If you are in an overweight or obese category, you can make some positive changes to reducing weight. Cut your portions, increase your vegetables and definitely skip the sugary drinks!
We have always associated the consumption of fats, in particular, saturated fats, with heart disease. However, more recent research has shown that consumption of excess sugars leads to an increase in LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol and triglycerides and insulin sensitivity.
The current recommendations for added sugars are as follows:
American Heart Association’s recommendations
Women: No more than 100 calories (25 grams) or 6 teaspoons
Men: No more than 150 calories (37.5 grams) or 9 teaspoons
Consuming adequate fiber is beneficial, for many reasons. Fiber helps to reduce cholesterol; balance blood glucose levels and provides us with a feeling of satiety. Beans and lentils are a great source of fiber and are an excellent carbohydrate choice. They can be used in salads, soups and stews and are easy to incorporate in to a main or side dish. The current recommendations are for adults to consume between 20-35 grams per day.