February is American Heart Month, and aside from serving as a reminder for us to eat healthier at this time of year, it’s important that we remind ourselves to maintain a healthier diet not just this month, but all year long as well.
Some of us may think that eating more heart-healthy means cutting out most of our favorite foods, however, that’s not necessarily true. Turns out, there are a few guilty pleasures out there that many would be surprised to hear can actually fit into a heart-healthy diet. So go ahead, and eat to your heart’s content (just remember to keep it in moderation).
- Eggs: An egg a day doesn’t have a significant impact on risk for heart disease. And although eggs are high in cholesterol, they’re low in saturated fat (1.5 grams saturated fat per egg), and saturated fat has more of an effect on our cholesterol levels.
- Filet: A six-ounce filet has 5 grams of saturated fat; sirloin has 4 grams saturated fat per six ounces. Not too bad for an indulgence, compared to 2 grams saturated fat per six ounces of skinless chicken breast or salmon.
- Bacon: Look for bacon with no added nitrites/nitrates, and keep it lean (and low in saturated fat) by opting for center-cut bacon or turkey bacon, with just 0 to 0.5 grams saturated fat per slice. And check labels carefully, since sodium content can range from 80 to 350 mg per slice.
- Crawfish: Not only are crawfish crazy-low in calories, they’re also low in carbs and high in protein. And although they’re high in cholesterol (a 6-ounce serving of tails has 232 milligrams), saturated and trans fats actually have more of an impact on our cholesterol levels, and crawfish tails less than one gram of total fat and zero saturated or trans fat. (Keep an eye on portions though, since crawfish are naturally high in sodium.)
- Beer: All types of alcohol can reduce risk of heart disease (it raises ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, can help prevent blood clots and can decrease levels of homocysteine, an amino acid linked to increased heart attack risk). And darker beer tends to have a higher antioxidant content.
For more details on this topic, check out Molly’s full article on WGNO.com.