With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, many view February as the month of love, but it is also Canadian Heart Month. 103 million adults have high blood pressure and 6.5 million are living with heart failure. While genetic factors do play a part in cardiovascular disease, the good news is 80 percent of cardiovascular diseases may be preventable with education and action. Simple lifestyle changes can make a big impact when it comes to heart health. Show your heart some love with these 10 tips.
- Stop smoking
Quitting smoking is the best thing that can be done for the heart and for overall health. Smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death in the United States, and smokers have a higher risk of developing many chronic disorders, including atherosclerosis, or the buildup of fatty substances in the arteries. When combined with other heart disease risk factors, smoking increases the risks associated with those factors. Quitting is never easy, but there are lots of helpful resources for those looking to start.
- Know your numbers
Maintaining a healthy weight, blood pressure and total cholesterol play a significant role in maintaining a healthy heart. While there are standard guidelines for blood pressure and cholesterol, ideal weight goals are individual to each person. A physician can help determine an appropriate goal weight based on additional factors such as age and height.
- Screen for diabetes
Untreated diabetes can lead to heart disease, among many other complications. Diabetes can be easily detected through a simple blood test and managed a variety of ways under the care of a physician.
- Get active
Heart pumping physical activity not only helps to prevent cardiovascular disease but can also improve overall mental and physical health. The American Heart Association recommends five 30 minute moderate exercise sessions each week. While this may seem daunting, it is important to note that these sessions can be broken up into two or three 10 or 15-minute segments throughout the day. Walking, jogging, biking and swimming are all great forms of exercise. It is important to remember that something is always better than nothing. Opting to take the stairs and parking farther back in the parking lot are great ways to squeeze in activity when the time is short.
- Build some muscle
Strength training compliments cardiovascular exercise by toning muscles and burning fat. In addition, proper strength training can improve daily functional movements, decreasing the chance of injury. The American Heart Association recommends getting in two days of moderate to high-intensity strength training each week.
- Eat smart
A healthy diet full of heart-smart foods is essential to a healthy heart and lifestyle. Salmon, nuts, berries, and oats are just a few of the heart “superfoods” that may help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. Dark chocolate is also on the list and is a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth (in moderation).
- Limit junk
To reap the full benefits of a heart-healthy diet, it’s important to limit intake of nutrient-poor junk foods. Added sugars, saturated fat and excessive sodium can all negatively impact heart health, as well as overall physical health. These foods, when eaten in excess, can cause weight gain, raise blood pressure and clog arteries, which are all risk factors for heart disease.
- Stress less
Stress increases cortisol, which leads to weight gain, a key risk factor for heart disease. In addition, stress can lead to other unhealthy habits, making it harder to stick to a heart-healthy program. Stress can also decrease overall happiness and increase the risk for anxiety and depression. Many of the items on this list can also help with reducing stress, in addition to practicing positive self-talk and incorporating mindfulness meditation breaks throughout the day.
- Sleep more
Sleeping restores the body, helps decrease stress and increases overall happiness. To reap the full benefits, clocking seven hours each night is key. A calming bedtime routine and going to bed and waking at the same time each day are all great ways to establish healthy sleep patterns. Getting ample sunshine and physical activity throughout the day also aid in improving sleep quality.
A happy heart is a healthy heart. Making time for enjoyable activities and hobbies helps relieve stress and improves the overall mood, providing a great foundation for a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Delicious High-Protein Foods to Eat
Protein makes up the building blocks of organs, muscles, skin, hormones and pretty much everything that matters in your body. For this reason, you should eat high-quality protein at every meal.
Studies show that this improves health in various ways, such as helping you lose weight and belly fat, while increasing your muscle mass and strength.
A diet high in protein also lowers blood pressure, fights diabetes and more.
The recommended daily intake (RDI) for protein is 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men.
However, many health and fitness experts believe that we need much more than that in order to function optimally.
Here is a list of 20 delicious foods that are high in protein.
Whole eggs are among the healthiest and most nutritious foods on the planet.
They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, eye-protecting antioxidants and brain nutrients that most people don’t get enough of.
Whole eggs are high in protein, but egg whites are almost pure protein.
Protein content: 35% of calories in a whole egg. 1 large egg has 6 grams of protein, with 78 calories.
Almonds are a popular type of tree nut.
They are loaded with important nutrients, including fiber, vitamin E, manganese and magnesium.
Protein content: 13% of calories. 6 grams per ounce (28 g), with 161 calories.
Other High-Protein Nuts
Pistachios (13% of calories) and cashews (11% of calories).
3. Chicken Breast
Chicken breast is one of the most popular protein-rich foods.
If you eat it without the skin, the majority of calories in it come from protein.
Chicken breast is also very easy to cook, and tastes delicious if you do it right.
Protein content: 80% of calories. 1 roasted chicken breast without skin contains 53 grams, with only 284 calories.
Oats are among the healthiest grains on the planet.
They are loaded with healthy fibers, magnesium, manganese, thiamin (vitamin B1) and several other nutrients.
Protein content: 15% of calories. Half a cup of raw oats has 13 grams, with 303 calories.
5. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a type of cheese that is very low in fat and calories.
It is loaded with calcium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B12, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and various other nutrients.
Protein content: 59% of calories. A cup (226 g) of cottage cheese with 2% fat contains 27 grams of protein, with 194 calories.
Other Types of Cheese That Are High in Protein
Parmesan cheese (38% of calories), swiss cheese (30%), mozzarella (29%) and cheddar (26%).
6. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt, also called strained yogurt, is a very thick type of yogurt.
It tastes delicious, has a creamy texture, and is high in many nutrients.
Protein content: Non-fat Greek yogurt has protein at 48% of calories. One 6-ounce (170-gram) container has 17 grams of protein, with only 100 calories.
Just make sure to choose one without added sugar. Full-fat Greek yogurt is also very high in protein, but contains more calories.
Regular full-fat yogurt (24% of calories) and kefir (40%).
Milk is highly nutritious, but the problem is that a huge percentage of the world’s population is intolerant to it.
However, if you tolerate milk and enjoy drinking it, then milk can be an excellent source of high-quality protein.
Milk contains a little bit of almost every single nutrient needed by the human body and can provide several impressive health benefits.
It is particularly high in calcium, phosphorus and riboflavin (vitamin B2).
Protein content: 21% of calories. 1 cup of whole milk contains 8 grams of protein, with 149 calories.
Broccoli is an incredibly healthy vegetable, loaded with vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber and potassium.
Broccoli is also high in various bioactive nutrients believed to help protect against cancer.
Calorie for calorie, it is very high in protein compared to most vegetables.
Protein content: 20% of calories. 1 cup (96 grams) of chopped broccoli has 3 grams of protein, with only 31 calories.
9. Lean Beef
Lean beef is very high in protein, and also tastes delicious.
It is loaded with highly bioavailable iron, vitamin B12 and large amounts of other important nutrients.
Protein content: 53% of calories. One 3-ounce (85 g) serving of cooked beef with 10% fat contains 22 grams of protein, with 184 calories.
If you’re on a low-carb diet, feel free to eat fatty cuts of beef instead of lean beef.
Tuna is a very popular type of fish.
It is low in both fat and calories, so what you’re left with is mostly just protein.
Like other fish, tuna is also very high in various nutrients and contains a decent amount of omega-3 fats.
Protein content: 94% of calories, in tuna canned in water. A cup (154 g) contains 39 grams of protein, with only 179 calories.
Quinoa is a seed/grain that is currently among the world’s most popular superfoods.
It is high in many vitamins, minerals and fiber, and is loaded with antioxidants.
Quinoa has numerous health benefits.
Protein content: 15% of calories. One cup (185 g) of cooked quinoa has 8 grams, with 222 calories.
12. Whey Protein Supplements
When you’re pressed for time and unable to cook, a protein supplementcan come in handy.
Whey protein is a type of high-quality protein from dairy foods, shown to be very effective at building muscle mass, and may help with weight loss.
If you’d like to try whey protein supplements, Amazon has a large variety available.
Protein content: Varies between brands. Can go over 90% of calories, with 20-50 grams of protein per serving.
Lentils are a type of legume.
They are high in fiber, magnesium, potassium, iron, folate, copper, manganese and various other nutrients.
Lentils are among the world’s best sources of plant-based protein, and are an excellent food for vegetarians and vegans.
Protein content: 27% of calories. 1 cup (198 g) of boiled lentils contains 18 grams, with 230 calories.
Other High-Protein Legumes
Soybeans (33% of calories), kidney beans (24%) and chickpeas (19%).
14. Ezekiel Bread
Ezekiel bread is different from most other breads.
It is made of organic and sprouted whole grains and legumes, including millet, barley, spelt, wheat, soybeans and lentils.
Compared to most breads, ezekiel bread is very high in protein, fiber and various important nutrients.
Protein content: 20% of calories. 1 slice contains 4 grams, with 80 calories.
15. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkins contain edible seeds called pumpkin seeds.
They are incredibly high in many nutrients, including iron, magnesium and zinc.
Protein content: 14% of calories. 1 ounce (28 g) has 5 grams of protein, with 125 calories.
Other High-Protein Seeds
Flax seeds (12% of calories), sunflower seeds (12%) and chia seeds (11%).
16. Turkey Breast
Turkey breast is similar to chicken breast in many ways.
It consists mostly of protein, with very little fat and calories. It also tastes delicious and is high in various vitamins and minerals.
Protein content: 70% of calories. One 3-ounce (85 g) serving contains 24 grams, with 146 calories.
17. Fish (All Types)
Fish is incredibly healthy, for various reasons.
It is loaded with important nutrients, and tends to be very high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Protein content: Highly variable. Salmon is 46% protein, with 19 grams per 3-ounce (85 g) serving and only 175 calories.
Shrimp is a type of seafood.
It is low in calories, but incredibly high in various nutrients, including selenium and vitamin B12.
Like fish, shrimp also contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids.
Protein content: 90% of calories. A 3 ounce (85 g) serving contains 18 grams, with only 84 calories.
19. Brussels Sprouts
The Brussels sprout is another high-protein vegetable, related to broccoli.
It is one of the healthiest foods you can eat, and is very high in fiber, vitamin C and other nutrients.
Protein content: 17% of calories. Half a cup (78 g) contains 2 grams of protein, with 28 calories.
Peanuts are incredibly delicious.
They are high in protein, fiber, magnesium and many studies show that they can help you lose weight.
Peanut butter is also high in protein, just make sure not to eat too much as it is quite “more-ish.”
Protein content: 16% of calories. One ounce (28 g) has 7 grams, with 159 calories.
The Bottom Line
The importance of eating enough protein can not be overstated.
It is the simplest, easiest and most delicious way to lose weight and have a better looking body. Period.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the sheet pan
4 tail-on jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
3 small cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes (about 6), sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
One 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed completely dry
2/3 cup shredded Gruyere (about 5 ounces)
Two 8-ounce New York strip steaks (1 to 1 1/2 inches thick)
- Position an oven rack in the top third of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F. Lightly grease a third of an 18-by-13-nch sheet pan with butter.
- Toss the shrimp with the melted butter, 1 teaspoon thyme, a third of the minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a medium bowl until well coated; set aside.
- Mix the Parmesan, 1/3 cup heavy cream, remaining 1 teaspoon thyme, half the remaining garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a small bowl.
- Arrange half of the potato slices in a single, overlapping layer on the buttered part of the sheet pan and pour the heavy cream mixture over the top. Top with the remaining potato slices. Cover the potatoes with foil and bake until tender then pierced with a fork, 15 to 17 minutes.
- Whisk together the cream cheese, remaining 1/3 cup heavy cream and remaining garlic in a medium bowl until smooth. Fold in the spinach until well coated. Divide the mixture between two 4-inch ramekins and press the spinach down so that it is flat and the cream mixture is pooling a bit on top.
- Remove the pan from the oven, remove the foil and sprinkle the potatoes with the Gruyere. Put the steaks down the middle of the pan and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Put the ramekins on one end of the empty third of the pan so that they are side by side.
- Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the steak registers 95 degrees F, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and turn on the broiler. Create 2 hearts with the shrimp on the pan beside the ramekins by connecting the tails. Broil until the steaks start to turn brown in some spots, an instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the steak reaches 115 degrees F, the shrimp are cooked through and no longer opaque and the cheese on the potatoes turns golden and starts to crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes. Slice and serve the steak on plates alongside the shrimp, potatoes and creamed spinach.