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Eat Smart for Your Heart

Happy Valentine's Day

It’s February, and the winter season is at its peak. When it’s cold, most people turn to comfort foods such as sweets, high-carb foods and … did we mention sweets? It wouldn’t be February without Valentine’s Day enticing us to shower our loved ones with mounds of chocolates and sweet guilty pleasures. Next thing you know, your New Year’s resolution to practice healthy habits goes down the drain. More importantly, unhealthy foods and sweets can lead to several deadly diseases — heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. In the U.S., approximately 610,000 people die of heart disease every year, which means one in four deaths are related to heart disease![1]

These numbers are staggering, and since February is also American Heart Month, it’s crucial to spread awareness and encourage heart-healthy lifestyles. At Sola, we believe it’s imperative to practice healthy habits, so we want to help you lower your risk of heart disease and eat smart for your heart. During American Heart Month, we are doing just that — giving you the information you need to prevent heart-related issues, including tips to adopt alternatives to unhealthy foods. What’s the first heart disease enabler on the list? You guessed right — the sweet but silent killer, sugar.

Added sugar isn’t very sweet after all.

We’ve all been told to limit sugary foods and drinks, but do we actually follow through? Most of us probably consume too much sugar than recommended. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that men should have no more than nine teaspoons of added sugar per day, and women should have no more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day.[2] Yet, Americans consume about 19.5 teaspoons of sugar per day — that’s 66 pounds of added sugar every year![3] Consuming too much sugar can put you at a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, inflammation and liver disease which are all linked to increased risk of a heart attack.[4]

The key to preventing heart-related issues is monitoring your sugar intake and shopping wisely at the grocery store. Always read the food label and ingredients of every food and beverage you purchase. In most cases, food labels state the sugar amount in grams. To put it into perspective, one teaspoon of sugar is equivalent to four grams of sugar. Also, watch for sugars that mask themselves as high-fructose corn syrup and rice syrup. Instead of purchasing high-sugar foods for you and your family that risk your health, consider replacing them with choices that contain less sugar and come from nature. A new option could be to switch to Sola products which aim to lose the sugar but keep the taste we know and love. Our products come from natural substances and contain less sugar. For those with a sweet tooth like us, consider using Sola sweetener, which contains only four calories per teaspoon versus traditional sugar that has more than sixteen calories per teaspoon — that’s over 75 percent more than Sola sweetener! We also provide a selection of delicious ice cream that contains only six grams of sugar, which is 60 percent less than traditional ice cream. Your heart and overall health will thank you for making daily choices to limit your sugar intake and opt for foods with more natural sugars.

Limit saturated fats.

Most people have butter, fatty meats and in their refrigerators. However, these foods are packed with high levels of saturated fats that can increase LDL cholesterol levels in your blood, which also increases your risk of having a heart attack.[5] Therefore, consider lowering your saturated fat consumption and look for foods that contain healthy unsaturated fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which have the reverse effect on cholesterol levels. These unsaturated fats are known to lower blood cholesterol levels and decrease risks of a heart attack and other heart diseases.[6]

To limit your saturated fat consumption, consider swapping to Sola products such as Sola bread, which contains only .5 grams of saturated fats and includes two grams of polyunsaturated fats and one gram of monounsaturated fat. Another healthier food swap is Sola granola, which is low in saturated fat. Our granola contains 50 percent less sugar than traditional granola, and it has only three grams or less of net carbs. Sola granola also contains only 1.5 grams of saturated fats, three grams of polyunsaturated fats and six grams of monounsaturated fats. The list of foods low in saturated fats doesn’t stop there. You may consider opting for Sola’s healthy Greek yogurt — the perfect way to start your day. Sola yogurt contains only 1.5 grams of saturated fats and is packed with probiotics and delicious, creamy flavor.

The bottom line.

When we maintain a healthy lifestyle, our bodies work to fight off and prevent many diseases, especially heart diseases. Therefore, during American Heart Month let’s try to push ourselves a little more every day to make healthier decisions such as swapping sugary, fatty foods for choices with less sugar and healthy fats. Trust us, your body and overall wellness will thank you for making healthier decisions and eating smarter for your heart.