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February is Heart Month!

grains of barley on a table arranged to form a heart

February is Heart Month and what a perfect time to learn about the risks of heart diseases and what you can do to protect your heart health.

Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions.

Heart disease refers to what is really a group of conditions that affect the structure and functions of the heart and has many root causes. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity are all conditions that can lead to heart disease.

But, these factors can be reduced by making healthy lifestyle choices, like quitting smoking, eating a healthy and balanced diet, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and limiting alcohol intake.

And, good thing for Ontario farmers, many research studies conclude that including whole grains in a daily diet can help reduce may of the risk factors that lead to heart disease! The Heart and Stoke Foundation of Canada says 80% of premature heart disease and stroke can be prevented through your life habits, such as eating a healthy diet that includes whole grains.

Whole grain foods contain all the essential parts of the seeds (the bran, the germ and endosperm) and thus, all the essential nutrients. Many whole grains are good sources of dietary fiber, which is incredibly important to an overall healthy diet. Dietary fiber can help you improve blood cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity and even type 2 diabetes.

You can increase the amount of whole grains in a heart-healthy diet by making simple substitutions for refined grain products. Or be adventuresome and try a new whole grain, like our favourite barley.

Tips to include whole grains in your diet:

  • Oatmeal for breakfast
  • Choose whole grain bread, buns, rolls, tortillas and pasta
  • Mix whole grain cereal with your regular cereal to gradually increase the amount of whole grains your are consuming.
  • Look for whole grains listed under the ingredient lists on food products.
  • Add whole barley or rice into soups and stews.

Want more tips on how to include whole grains into your healthy lifestyles including easy to make recipes? Search #TrainWithGrainsTip on our website for more tips on how to include grains into your healthy lifestyle.