Not only is February home to Valentine’s Day, it is also American Heart month, which serves as a good reminder to take care of ourselves and our bodies so that we are around for many more Februarys to come. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so it’s important that we take action and improve the quality of our diet and lifestyle.
Grim statistics aside, making these changes doesn’t have to be a daunting, miserable experience. In fact, it can bring lots of positive and delicious improvements to your life. For instance, popular U.K. chef Antony Worrall Thompson recently published a cookbook that’s about "good healthy eating for every day." Titled The Essential Low Fat Cookbook, it includes tips from a nutritionist on the importance of following a low-fat diet and keeping your heart healthy in order to decrease the chances of developing cardiovascular disease.
In terms of overarching lifestyle changes, maintaining a healthy body weight and losing excess weight is a first step to keeping your heart in top shape. Thompson suggests becoming more active to aid in weight management because "aerobic exercise is not just good for your muscles in your legs and arms, it’s also good for your heart — remember it’s a muscle, too." He advises to check with a doctor before beginning a new workout routine if you’re not used to exercising regularly. Similarly, reducing your salt intake overall can help improve your heart health because high blood pressure can negatively impact your heart.
Continue reading to learn more of Thompson’s advice for eating better, plus tips for what types of foods to incorporate into your diet to get you started. Based off his advice, we pulled together a list of low-fat, tasty, and heart-healthy recipes so you can begin making a change.