There are some simple changes you can make to your kitchen, the way you cook and ultimately what you eat could mean the difference between a healthy heart and a diseased one.
So if you want a healthier heart, you may want to incorporate these kitchen makeover tips:
- Shop locally. Your local green grocer and local butcher is where you should be shopping for the staple ingredients for your meals. This means that you are buying fresh local produce rather than seasoned, refined, prepackaged items.
- Look for the seasonal. Eat vegetables and fruits that are available in the particular season. This is nature’s way of ensuring that you get requisite nutrients into your diet and that a wide variety is available the year round.
- Don’t stock canned foods and frozen meals in your kitchen. These are high in sodium or sugar and often do not have the nutrients that fresh foods have.
- Use less salt. Instead season your meals with fresh herbs. You can actually grow herbs such as mint, rosemary, parsley, basil etc quite easily at home, and pop those into the pot while giving the salt shaker a rest.
- Ditch the cured meats. Again very high on sodium, eat lean cuts of meat instead.
- Replace pork and beef with fish and chicken when possible. The latter are better sources of protein. Red meat is known to be associated with hardening of the arteries.
- Look at your cooking medium. Use olive oil when possible, it can be a tasty alternative even to butter.
- Do not deep fry. This means that you are ingesting a lot of oil along with your food. Deep frying means that you typically get the oil to heat up to a high temperature at which the oil becomes even less healthy. Boiling, grilling, stir frying are far healthier alternatives. Also, cook slowly. This is better for your heart and often brings out the flavor of dishes better.
- Cut down on alcohol. One drink a day will not harm you; some studies have shown that a drink a day is actually good for your heart. Particularly when that one drink is red wine, which contains heart healthy properties such as flavonoids and antioxidants. Excessive drinking, however, can raise blood pressure, cause obesity and ultimately lead to heart disease.
- Trick yourself. Replace the plates and bowls that you currently use, with smaller sized ones. This will help you reduce portion sizes without you even realizing it!