Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi

Show Your Heart Some Love

This month is American Heart Month. Along with raising awareness about heart disease we’ll look at ways to show your heart some love and keep it healthy!

Several health conditions like lifestyle, age and family history can increase your risk for heart disease. Half of all Americans have at least 1 of 3 risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking.

Eating a healthy diet is one of the most effective ways to lower your risk for heart disease. Other key factors include regular physical activity, avoiding tobacco and an annual wellness exam.

When eating healthy for your heart, there are three main nutrients to be aware of:

  1. Sodium – Reducing the amount of sodium in your diet can help lower your blood pressure. Limit the amount of sodium in your diet by using spices and herbs instead. Be sure to pay attention to food labels and choose foods with lower sodium.

  2. Fat – Too much saturated fat and trans fat can raise your cholesterol levels. Saturated fat is found most commonly in foods from animals, such as high-fat cuts of meat, butter and lard and whole-milk dairy products. It’s best to limit saturated fat in your diet and choose healthier alternatives like lean fish and skim milk. Trans fat is found in foods made with hydrogenated oils, such as stick margarine, shortening, fried foods, donuts and pastries. Choose foods that say No trans fat or trans fat-free.

  3. Fiber – Fiber is good for your overall health, but may be especially beneficial for your heart health because it may lower your cholesterol. Good sources of fiber include fresh veggies, fruit with skin, beans and legumes and whole grains. Add fiber to your diet by adding berries to your cereal or black beans to your salad, or choosing whole fruit instead of fruit juice.

Show your heart some love by making healthy choices that will benefit your heart! Here are some healthier food swaps and heart-healthy recipes.

Instead of this... Try This...
High Fat Meats

High fat meats such as beef and fried foods are often high in saturated fat, the fat that research has shown to increase cholesterol. And, don’t forget the extra toppings– chili, cheese and bacon– can add even more bad fat.

Lean Meats

Trading in beef for leaner meats such as turkey is a healthier, lower fat way to enjoy some of the meals you like. Plus, oven-baking your fries will save you an additional 300 calories and 25g of fat per cup!


Buttery crust, cheese and toppings, such as bacon and sausage, can make pizza a culprit for poor heart health.

Veggie Pizza

You can even make pizza healthier! Start with whole grain pita bread, add your favorite marinara sauce and top with mozzarella cheese and vegetables!

Pork Rinds

Salt and fat, oh my! Snack chips and pork rinds can be high in sodium and saturated fat.

Fruit and Walnuts

Fruit and walnuts are healthier snack alternatives! Not only are they lower in fat and calories, they also provide a boost of antioxidants!

Frozen Meals

Frozen and convenience meals are quick and easy to prepare, but are often full of sodium.


Oatmeal is a quick and easy meal that provides fiber to help lower your cholesterol and keep your heart healthy. Mix up a bowl today!

Cheese Dip

Even the cheese dip is a culprit for poor heart health as it can be high in fat and sodium!


Whole grain crackers and hummus are a healthier appetizer alternative. Try the various flavors of hummus-roasted red pepper, garlic or Greek – to find a new favorite dip!

Milk Chocolate

Milk chocolate consumption should be limited as it contains high amounts of saturated fat and sugar.

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is rich in fiber, iron, magnesium and copper to name a few of the heart-healthy minerals. It’s also high in antioxidants and can help improve blood flow and lower blood pressure. You should still keep serving sizes limited to 1 oz.

Walnut Crusted Salmon

Yields: 6 servings


  • ¾ C walnut pieces

  • ¼ C butter

  • 8 tsp bread crumbs

  • 1 ½ Tbsp chives, chopped

  • Salt and pepper, pinch

  • 6-4 oz salmon filets


  1. Process walnuts and butter in a food processor until finely ground. Add bread crumbs and chives, and process until blended. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

  2. Season salmon with salt and pepper, and place on a nonstick baking pan. Press 2-3 tablespoons of crust mixture in a thin layer over each salmon filet.

  3. Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake salmon for 15-18 minutes until crust has lightly browned.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Oatmeal

Yields: 1 serving


  • ½ C old-fashioned oatmeal

  • 1-1 ½ cups low-fat or fat-free milk

  • ½ Tbsp cocoa powder

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • ½ cup raspberries


In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine oats, milk, cocoa powder and sugar. Let simmer until oats have absorbed liquid. Remove from heat. Add raspberries. Enjoy!

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