February is not just for lovers anymore. The American Heart Association (AHA) has officially dubbed February “American Heart Month”. So, what better time to start showing your heart more love than in February? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention claims that heart disease is the leading cause of deaths in the United States. Both the Mayo Clinic and the AHA suggest that consuming 2-3 (3.5 ounce) servings of omega-3 rich foods a week can help support a healthy heart.
How do you know that you are providing your body with enough omega-3’s? Here are a few ways to ensure that you are consuming the recommended amounts of omega-3 fatty acids:
Eat Fish - All fish contain omega-3’s. The fattier the fish, the higher the omega-3 levels. Your best bets are fish with high levels of omega-3’s, such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, herring and tuna. Be sure to use caution when consuming large amounts of fish, as some have elevated levels of mercury, which could lead to health risks, especially in pregnant women. In order to make your fish selection an easy one, the EPA has published safe eating guidelines. For more information, visit www.EPA.gov and type ‘safe eating guideline’ in the search box at the top of the home page.
Go Nuts - Most nuts, seeds and beans also contain omega-3’s. The best sources are soybeans, walnuts, flaxseed and pumpkin seeds.
Cook with Oil - Instead of cooking in vegetable oil, try a more heart-healthy option by using olive oil, sunflower seed oil, soybean oil, flaxseed oil or canola oil.
Get Fortified - When you are shopping at the local market, keep your eyes open for foods fortified with omega-3. Most will prominently display “Enhanced or Fortified with Omega-3” on the label. Juices, eggs, pastas, cereals, breads and even soups are just some of the products that now feature heart healthy omega-3’s.
How can you truly be certain that you are getting plenty of omega-3’s? Taking an omega-3 fish oil supplement daily is a great way; however, be sure to choose an ultra-refined product. To be sure you are getting the highest quality, choose a fish oil supplement that has an IFOS 5-Star Rating. This validation testing ensures that you are getting a safe and effective fish oil supplement that you can feel confident giving to your family.
Do you lead a heart-healthy lifestyle? Finding out is easy! The AHA has developed an interactive online action plan for you to determine if you are leading a healthy life. It is called “Life’s Simple 7”. Take the test and discover the state of your heart. The program will provide you with simple steps to achieve a healthier heart and lifestyle. So, show your heart some love and visit www.MyLifeCheck.org and take the challenge today.