Almost two months into the new year, and many of us have lost our resolve. Those promises we made about food are a distant memory. But dietitians say changing your diet shouldn’t have to hurt.
“We’re really cooking from the heart. Start with the basics,” says Jennifer Vargo, dietitian with Lee Memorial Health System.
In traditional societies, people eat far less processed food, which is lower in sodium. They also exhibit less heart disease.
“The sodium content is something we all need to be watchful of. There are foods that tend to be higher in sodium, for example some of the deli meats, cheeses can get there, pickles, olives things like this. Sticking more with fresh vegetables and fruits of course is going to be a way to lower the sodium content,” says Vargo.
While you’re trying to trim sodium, you can boost fiber; one on-trend way is beans.
“Hummus would be a wonderful thing to bring in there. Again you’re working with beans so you’re going to have that wonderful source of fiber plus you’ve got some healthy fats in there too because those are often made with olive oils and those are heart healthy as well,” says Vargo.
A Harvard study found up to 70-percent of heart disease might be avoided with a proper diet - compared to statin drugs, which reduce risk by 25-30 percent. Even our main dishes can get a heart-healthy makeover.
“Seafood is a wonderful thing we don’t get as often as we should. The beauty about having seafood is that fat that is in there, is rich in there is Omega 3 which can be very good for our heart,” says Vargo.
And serving up a final piece of advice: be creative and try new ways to enjoy your food.
“Just because you’re trying to have healthy choices doesn’t mean all the joy has to be sucked out of it,” says Vargo.