Last year I had a scare as I watched a close friend battle heart disease. It was both scary and an eye opener. He’s young and strong, but this disease really took it’s toll on him. Watching someone you love go through that reminds you that life is precious. It also encourages you to make necessary and healthier choices in your own life.
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease and the leading cause of death in the United States in both men and women. CAD occurs when blood vessels of heart become narrow, making it difficult for blood to flow to the heart. [i] My friend he had to get surgery to unblock his arteries. And once he was out of the hospital he’s had to make changes to maintain a healthy heart. We can learn more from Dr. Richard Collins also known as The Cooking Cardiologist.
CAD may be managed with a mixture of lifestyle changes and treatment options, with medications often being chosen as a first line of treatment.[ii] While surgery is sometimes needed, one of the best things any of us can do is eat with our health in mind.
When it comes to eating healthier, I think sometimes think that their meals are going to be boring. That’s definitely not the case. By simply making heart-healthy ingredient swaps, you can make your favorite dish better for your heart. Want some tips for making swaps? Check out a few ideas below.
6 Easy Heart-healthy Ingredient Swaps
Instead of reaching for the salt, load up on fresh herbs and spices to give your meals a little extra kick of flavor. I know it’s so easy to just grab salt, but when you start expanding your herb and spice varieties it’s a lot of fun. I’ve been making good use of my local farmer’s market, once you learn more about your options, you realize you don’t need as much salt to get a good flavor profile.
Replace cow’s milk with soy, almond, rice or oat milk. I happen to love Almond milk. I use it in my tea, cereal, and much more. Another plus with Almond milk is that it lasts longer so you save money in the long run.
Think whole grains rather than refined grains.
Try plant-based recipes using plant proteins rather than meats. Something cool I’ve been getting into is using meat substitutes in recipes like chili or even replacing rice with cauliflower. There are so many tasty options.
When in need of sweetener, use a natural sugar substitute such as maple syrup, honey or stevia. So many foods include a TON of sugar, it’s important that you’re watching your sugar in take just as much as salt. I’ve start omitting sugar when not necessary and opting for honey or other natural options.
Use avocado as a healthy fat. I’ve always love avocado. Whether it’s on a salad or on toast it’s good for you and delicious.
While the 6 tips above are awesome, please keep in mind that some heart-healthy swaps and recipes may not be right for everyone. You may want to talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet. You should follow your doctor’s guidelines or dietary restrictions for heart disease.
We only get one life. It’s important that you make it your best life. Making healthy lifestyle changes doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start with one change day by day and soon those will become habits. I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips from The Cooking Cardiologist, and hope that Your Life After 25 is a healthy life after 25.
[i] Coronary Artery Disease. MedlinePlus. NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM). Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/coronaryarterydisease.html.
[ii] How is CAD Treated? Boston Scientific. Available at: www.ispciforme.com.