You're never too old, or too young, to lower your risk of heart disease. You can start by eating a heart healthy diet. The American Heart Association recommends eating a variety of foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and lower in calories.
People often feel they need to make many changes all at once to live a healthier life. But even small changes can make a difference. With this strategy, you can stay on track without feeling overwhelmed.
Take note of these healthy eating tips, then look below for a heart healthy Tuscan bean soup recipe.
Healthy Eating Tips
Increase your fruit and vegetables
Add fruit and vegetables to all of your meals and snacks. Keep pre-cut veggie slices, fruits, and carrot sticks on hand for quick snacks. You can also keep a large salad already put together in the fridge to pull out at mealtimes. Also, fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables at mealtime.
Drink more water
A great way to stay healthy is to keep hydrated. Sweetened beverages like soda and juice offer little to no nutritional benefit and are loaded with sugar. Drinking more water will help cut out many unnecessary calories. Try adding fruit slices, cucumber slices, or mint leaves to give your water flavor.
Increase your intake of whole grain products
Whole grain breads, cereals, rice, and pasta provide a great source of fiber which offers a variety of health benefits. Choosing whole grains more often will also help to keep you full in between meals and snacks.
Cooking your meals at home instead of relying on pre-made meals or takeout can help give you the opportunity to eat healthier. Many pre-made or processed dishes contain a lot of salt. If you cook your own meals, you can use other herbs and spices to season your dishes which will help decrease your salt intake.
A Healthy Recipe for Tuscan Bean Soup
Here’s a healthy recipe from the American Heart Association to help you get started.
1 tsp. olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
- 1/2 small red onion (chopped)
- 1 medium celery (chopped)
- 1 medium garlic clove (minced)
- 2 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
- 15.5 oz. canned, no-salt-added Great Northern beans (rinsed, drained)
- 14.5 oz. canned, no-salt-added, diced tomatoes (undrained)
- 1 tsp. dried oregano (crumbled)
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme (crumbled)
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 cups spinach
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Cook the onion, celery, and garlic for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onion and celery are soft.
- Stir in the broth, beans, tomatoes with liquid, oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes so the flavors blend.
- Stir in the spinach. Simmer, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted.
- Just before serving, sprinkle the soup with the Parmesan.