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Get the Skinny: Surprising Heart Healthy Foods

February is National Heart Month, so there’s an increased emphasis on what to eat and what to avoid, to maximize heart health.  But smart eating doesn’t have to be all about deprivation – today we’re Getting the Skinny with Molly on 5 surprising foods that can fit into a heart-healthy diet!

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.

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.