A heart healthy eight

Since this is heart health month, and we know that cardiovascular disease, according to the 2015 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Update, is the leading cause of death throughout the globe responsible for 17.3 million deaths per year, it seemed like an appropriate time to feature eight nutrition tools/ideas which promote healthy hearts. Last February, I featured three articles on heart health in the Sky-Hi News, so please check those out after enjoying this week’s column! As always, prior to beginning any exercise or nutrition program, please consult your physician.

Tools of the Kitchen Trade! Make sure your kitchen is well stocked with the preparation basics, such as a good set of a cookware, and the utensils that will work well with that cookware. It is worth the investment.

A good blender! Good quality blenders are versatile, when utilized as the manufacturer recommends, last for years and should be stored in an easily, accessible location in your kitchen for preparation of quick and easy recipes.

Along those same lines, consider a cordless immersion blender which may be a more efficient clean-up tool when you do not require a full size blender.

If you are not a fan of the kitchen, begin preparing simple meals such as salads, dressings, soups, etc., that do not take a great deal of time, yet provide you with the opportunity to become proficient in the kitchen and to store the leftovers.

Easy to follow and quick to create, healthy meal cookbooks. Try “No Excuses! 50 Healthy Ways to Rock Breakfast!” by Tiffani Bachus RDN and Erin Macdonald RDN. Carefully review cookbooks before purchasing to make certain that the authors are truly nutrition experts with credentials to back up their content. Additionally, the cookbook should include suggestions for substitutions, measurement conversions and shopping lists for the featured recipes.

Use technology to keep you on track. There are a variety of apps designed for your devices that are geared to measure and keep track of food purchases, nutrient breakdown, caloric content, etc. You may want to try a few different apps to see which will be the best fit for you. If you are not a techie, a good spiral notebook will work to keep a food log, and your goals/objectives. The key to deciding which path to take in terms of tracking is what you WILL do consistently so that the information is accessible, trackable and meaningful. Also, if you are leaning toward a technological tool, remember that no tool guarantees great results. You are the most important key to all excellent results!

Hire a qualified nutrition expert to clean out and reorganize your pantry and refrigerator. Do not be afraid of this process. It is money well spent to begin this journey the way you want to end it up—on the right track for you as an individual.

Review every piece of nutrition information that you come across and feel the need to pursue with your health and fitness experts first. There are excellent resources of information that should be generally followed and then there are misleading, too-good-to-be-true resources that should be ignored entirely. Your experts will know the difference and help you to navigate this information for yourself as you “vet” the internet!

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