February is American Heart Month. There are so many ways to be proactive in taking care of your heart health such as exercising, managing stress, reducing sodium intake, switching to healthy fats, and increasing your soluble fiber intake. Are you wondering to yourself “What is soluble fiber?” Soluble fiber lowers LDL (lousy, bad) cholesterol and is found naturally in many types of foods. Try adding soluble fiber rich foods into your meals to help support your heart.
Sources of Soluble Fiber
- Certain fruits and vegetables are higher in soluble fiber than others. Brussels sprouts, carrots, winter squash, broccoli, peas, etc. provide soluble fiber.
- Be inspired by the rainbow when picking produce. Choose different colors to give your body a variety of nutrients.
- Try this penne pasta dish that is loaded with soluble rich foods including broccoli and garbanzo beans.
- Pears, apples, blueberries, bananas, grapefruit, oranges, etc. provide soluble fiber.
- Aim for two servings of fruit each day.
- 1 serving of fruit such as a whole apple
- 1 cup of fruit (berries, cut up melon, etc.)
- Grab a piece of fruit for a quick snack during the busy day.
- Look for plain oats instead of flavored oats, which are often loaded with added sugar. Add cinnamon, ground flaxseed, fruit, or peanut butter to oats for a warming and heart healthy breakfast on a cold day.
- Add barley to soups and stews for extra fiber and selenium (an antioxidant).
- Incorporate this barley lentil soup into your meal rotation for a simple but nutrient dense meal.
Beans, Lentils & Seeds
- Choose canned beans with no added sodium or rinse under running water to remove excess sodium. Incorporate beans into soups, tacos, salads for extra fiber and protein.
- Try this crunchy-roasted-chickpea recipe for a heart healthy snack.
- Add to soups, chili, taco meat
- Ground flaxseed
- Sprinkle on yogurt, salad, smoothie for extra fiber.
- Try adding ground flaxseed into pancakes and muffin mixes. It is a simple way to add extra fiber and heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids that are found in flaxseeds.
Written by BWS Dietitian-Melissa Morningstar Vajas RD, LD