Grill Up Heart Health for Dad!
by Dr. Janet Brill
This Sunday, June 16, is Father’s Day! Why not give dad the greatest gift of all -- the gift of heart health?
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in American men (and women). Help protect your dad’s heart by helping him take action to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle. Heart disease is largely preventable with healthy eating and exercise.
If barbecue plans are a Father’s Day tradition, follow these five tips for making your dad’s day heart-healthier:
- Choose healthy, colorful foods. Choosing foods that are low in fat, high in nutrients and full of flavor will give you great meals that are also healthy. Consider grilling seasonal veggies and fruit on a shish kabob as a delicious and nutritious way to barbecue.
- Marinate. Use an olive oil and citrus marinade -- with added fresh herbs such as basil, mint, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and sage -- to marinate everything that goes on the grill. This will add flavor, antioxidants and help prevent the formation of carcinogenic substances on your grilled foods.
- Opt for fish over meat. No doubt about it, fish-eating populations have healthier hearts. To keep dad’s ticker strong, see if you can coax him to get in at least two fatty fish meals per week (such as salmon, tuna or halibut) -- excellent meaty fish (brimming with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids) for grilling!
- Nix the mayonnaise-laden salads. Instead, try grilled red potatoes coated with olive oil and fresh rosemary. Also, try serving a dark, green leafy salad with an olive-oil based vinaigrette.
- Don’t forget the beans and corn on the cob. Beans are a near perfect food, nutrition-wise. A small serving of baked beans and some grilled corn-on-the cob (seasoned with olive oil) are two heart-healthy side dishes that dad should eat in lieu of creamy, fatty dishes common at outdoor barbecues. Just be sure not to let dad slather artery-clogging butter and salt on his corn!
Whether you choose to have a barbecue or take your dad out for Father’s Day, be sure to follow the five tips for eating healthy outlined above!