February 9, 2015 3:28 pm

3 simple foods to keep your heart healthy

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WATCH: Dietician Angel Ong shares a few tips for a healthy heart

MONTREAL — February isn’t just about Valentine’s Day, it’s also Heart Health Month.

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Heart disease is one of the leading causes of hospitalization and death in Canada, so dietitian Angel Ong passed by the Global Morning News to share her top tips to keep our hearts healthy.

“Nine in ten people do have a risk factor for heart disease,” said Ong.

“But the good news is that heart disease is manageable and preventable.”

You are what you eat

Most people know the basic preventative measures when it comes to heart disease: don’t smoke, exercise, maintain a healthy body weight and reduce stress.

But Ong pointed out the most important is keeping a balanced diet.

Eating healthy on a regular basis isn’t hard, it just takes a little bit of planning.

The bad

Packaged foods are full of saturated fats, sodium and sugar.

THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Jeff McIntosh

Packaged foods

Saturated and trans fats are extremely bad for our bodies, and they’re found in some of the most commonly eaten packaged foods.

“They’re found mostly in animal products,” Ong told Global Morning News anchor Richard Dagenais.

“So, you don’t want to eat to many of those artificially-made fats.”

How do we avoid products that contain saturated fats?

“If you think about a grocery store, you want to avoid the aisles in the middle” she said.

“Those foods are usually higher in saturated fats, higher in sodium and higher in sugar.”

The good

Salmon is full of Omega-3.

Omega-3

This fatty acid is usually found in a variety of fishes, such as trout or salmon.

“Omega-3 is great for the heart because it reduces inflammation and it also helps to reduce blood pressure and stiffness in the arteries,” she said.

“Overall, it just improves your cardiovascular health.”

Omega-3 can also be found in walnuts, chia seeds and flax seeds.

“You can easily incorporate them in your daily yogurt or cereal,” said Ong.

Fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables

Ideally, adults are supposed to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

“What’s great about vegetables is they contain a lot of fibre,” said Ong.

Fibre is great for the body because it works to reduce cholesterol and maintain a healthy body weight.

Ong’s tip? When you’re preparing vegetables for dinner, try to have at least two different colours.

“Not only does it make the plate more appealing and more fun to look at, but it also provides more antioxidants and more nutrients,” she said.

“The more colour there is, the more nutrients there are.”

Chocolate covered strawberries
Dark chocolate

Keeping your heart healthy doesn’t mean you have to cut your sweet tooth in half.

“There is some evidence to suggest dark chocolate could be cardio-protective,” said Ong.

So, instead of indulging in chocolate cake on Valentine’s Day, why not have some dark-chocolate-covered strawberries or fondue and fruit?

© 2015 Shaw Media

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