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Harvesting Autumn’s Healthy Bounty

Seasons like winter and summer often inspire you to adopt healthy habits. With winter comes the New Year and resolutions to eat healthier and exercise more. In the summer, warmer weather encourages us to get outside and move and an abundance of healthy produce is available to make light, summery meals.

You may not think of autumn as a time to get healthy. But with kids going back to school, the leaves starting to change color and the air feeling cooler, autumn can be a time for new beginnings. Make a fresh start this fall by changing a few of your eating habits – the results can get you on the way to a healthy heart.

Making the Right Choices

While some fat is essential to your diet, most people get too much and the wrong kinds. Eating too much saturated fat and trans fat can contribute to high cholesterol and obesity, which can lead to heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Choose unsaturated fats instead, such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Research has also shown that omega-3 fatty acids can be beneficial to health. Try upping your consumption of healthy fats by sautéing in olive oil as opposed to butter, and occasionally serving fish instead of beef or pork.

Grains are an integral part of a healthy diet, but some are better choices than others. Refined white flour has fewer nutrients and less fiber than whole-grain options, so choose wisely. Brown rice, whole-grain breads and pasta, and grains such as barley and quinoa are tasty and healthy alternatives.

Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is a great way to protect your heart. They are low in calories and full of antioxidants, essential vitamins and minerals, and fiber. Try adding a few of the tasty fall foods (above,right) to your diet.

Small Changes, Big Impact

By making a few small tweaks to your diet, you’ll reap big rewards. It’s not too hard to try a new vegetable, switch to a more heart-healthy fat and add whole-grains to your meals. The result will be tasty meals – and a healthy you!