August: Be Lean and Mean, Eat Your Protein!
This month the goal is to ensure you’re eating enough healthy proteins. Why is that important? Protein is packed with nutrients and vitamins that are essential to your body’s health, including healthy bones, skin and muscles.
Hy-Vee Dietitian Teresa Blauwet provides a few tips to ensure you’re getting enough protein without the unwanted saturated fats.
- Protein comes in two major forms – animal-based and plant-based. Animal proteins include chicken, fish, beef, pork, eggs, milk, yogurt and cheese. Plant proteins include legumes (i.e., black beans, peanuts), nuts, hemp, quinoa, seeds and soy.
- While most people get enough protein in their diets, it’s important to ensure you are choosing low-fat options such as beans, poultry and fish.
- The American Heart Association recommends that everyone should eat fish high in omega-3 fatty acids at least twice a week. This includes herring, tuna, trout salmon and sardines. Omega-3 fatty acids are unsaturated (healthy) fats that may reduce blood pressure, triglycerides, blood clotting and inflammation throughout your entire body. By reducing these measures, you’re less likely to have damaged blood vessels, which will then decrease your chances of heart failure or stroke.
- Not all fish are created equal, however. Fish such as tilapia and catfish are not as high in omega-3 fatty acids and do not seem to have the same benefits. Also, it is important to prepare them in a healthy way — bake or broil them with healthy oils, such as olive oil, instead of deep fat frying.