Heart-healthy diet can save lives

This article originally appeared on www.simcoe.com

February is Heart and Stroke Month, so it’s time to talk about your ticker and heart-healthy eating tips.

Focusing on a heart-healthy diet is important considering about 2.4 million Canadians live with heart disease. Heart disease is also the second-leading cause of death in Canada.

You can reduce your risk of heart disease by understanding the factors that cause it, and making lifestyle changes. Tips include: eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, avoiding trans fat, and limiting saturated fats and sodium by choosing fresh, unprocessed foods.

“Maintaining a diet rich in protein, fibre and omega-3 can help keep your heart happy,” explains Elysia Vandenhurk, a Red Seal chef and part owner of Three Farmers, a Canadian company that manufactures and sells camelina oil.

“Camelina oil is one of our bestselling products because it contains omega-3, which has been shown to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, two things that directly impact the functioning of the heart,” explains the chef. Camelina oil is an ancient seed oil.

“It’s a very heart-healthy oil for everyday cooking. It’s also extremely versatile because it has a higher smoke point 475 F,” she explains. In short, it works for salads to high heat stir-fries and more.

With a light, subtle flavour with hints of asparagus and a gentle nuttiness, it also tastes great.

As for any final heart-healthy eating tips?

“Eat clean, eat simple and in moderation. Keep portion sizes down, and ensure the ingredients you’re putting in your body are good for your body,” says the chef.

Based in Saskatoon, Sask., Three Farmers, which was recently featured on Dragons' Den, is the first Canadian company to manufacture and sell this product. “It’s a 100 per cent Canadian company — we grow and manufacture everything on Canadian soil,” she explains. It also sells roasted chickpeas and roasted peas.

Three Farmers Products are sold locally at Nutrition Plus, Goodness Me! and Metro. For more information, visit www.threefarmers.ca.

Katherine Elphick is the food columnist for Simcoe.com. Contact her through newsroom@simcoe.com.

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