Heart Healthy for 28 Days With Soy

Try one idea a day. By the end of February, you’ll know what works for you and what doesn’t.

  1. Try a soyfood today. Soyfoods are naturally cholesterol-free and very low in saturated fat. When they replace animal proteins soyfoods have proven to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  2. Learn about the health benefits of soyfoods from Soy Fact Sheets and Soy General Health.
  3. See your healthcare provider for a physical if it has been a while. Have your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose levels checked. Ask them is soyfoods could help you in lowering you cholesterol and improve your heart health. Learn more at Soy and Heart Disease.
  4. Learn your risk of heart disease. By age 20, you should know your risk factors. The important risk factors that you can control or treat include:
    • smoking
    • high blood pressure
    • high blood cholesterol
    • diabetes
    • being overweight or obese
    • physical inactivity
  5. Learning your personal risk factors is the first step in changing your lifestyle.

  6. Calculate your BMI to determine if you are at a healthy weight. Body Mass Index is an indicator of your risk for disease. Individuals below 25 are at a lower risk for developing chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Go to www.heart.org and search for “BMI calculator.”
  7. Do you know how many calories you need? Try counting calories today. You may be eating a lot more or less than you need. Go to the American Heart Association’s web site at www.heart.org and search for “How Many Calories.”
  8. Count how many grams of soy protein you eat in one day. Use the Soyfoods Protein Content Chart to help you.
  9. Read food labels today. Are there any foods in your pantry that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (aka trans fat)? Chuck them! Trans fats can increase your risk of heart disease by lowering your good cholesterol while increasing your bad cholesterol.
  10. Drink only water and other calorie-free beverages today. Soda, juice drinks, and sports drinks all contain a lot of sugar and calories, which can lead to weight gain. Limit liquid calories.
  11. Be cosmopolitan and try something new. Order edamame as a traditional Japanese appetizer at your favorite sushi restaurant.
  12. Try eating like a vegetarian for the day. You’ll naturally eat more plant based foods such as vegetables, legumes, and soyfoods while lowering your intake of saturated fat and cholesterol.
  13. Try a new fruit today. Have you ever had a pomegranate or a fresh mango? Fruits are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber — and they’re low in calories. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables may help you control your weight and your blood pressure.
  14. At the grocery store, look for soyfoods in the freeze section, produce section, dairy section, and more. Pick one out that you have never tried before! Soyfoods in the Supermarket can help you locate soyfoods in your store.
  15. Pay attention to portion size today. Portions have increased dramatically in the last 20 years, and not just in restaurants. How big are the plates you use at home? Switching to smaller plates makes your portions seem larger. Meat servings should be no larger than a deck of cards. A serving of starchy foods like pasta and rice should be no larger than your fist.
  16. Try a new vegetable today. Have you ever had spaghetti squash or white asparagus? Vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber — and they’re low in calories. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables may help you control your weight and your blood pressure.
  17. Ask for soyfoods at your favorite restaurants. See what soy options you can enjoy while out and about.
  18. Take a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood. All healthy adults ages 18-65 should be getting at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity five days of the week to reduce the risk of heart disease. Walking is one of the easiest, inexpensive activities there is.
  19. Replace butter and other fats with soybean oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, or canola oil. The unsaturated fats in these oils also provide antioxidants to help develop and maintain your body’s cells. Unsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
  20. Bring your lunch to work today. You have more control when you make it yourself. Restaurant portions are usually larger than what you would eat at home and the foods are often higher in fat and salt.
  21. Learn how to cook with soyfoods. Cooking with Soyfoods provides tips to help every cook make a delicious soy dish.
  22. Splurge on something new related to your favorite activity. Maybe you need a new pair of sneakers or your tennis racket is worn out. Or maybe you wear the same old, baggy clothes to walk every week. Investing in something new will make you more likely to commit to that activity.
  23. Buy a pedometer (step-counter) today. They’re small, inexpensive and very useful in determining how active you are. Most adults take only 2,500 to 3,500 steps a day. Gradually add just 250 steps per day averaged out over the week. Aim for 10,000 or more each day. That will give you a good start on a healthy routine of physical activity. The more steps you take, the better.
  24. Discover a new Soy Recipe.
  25. Set a goal. Want to run or walk a 10k race? Want to lose 20 pounds? Having a goal to work toward will help you stay on track with a healthy lifestyle.
  26. Replace a food high in calories, cholesterol and saturated fat with soyfoods. Soy Infusion has tips on how to do just that.
  27. Relax! Find an activity like meditation or yoga and helps relieve stress. Even making time for friends and family or civic activities can curb stress. Stress increases blood pressure and more and more evidence suggests a relationship between stress and heart disease.
  28. Get some laughs. Watch a funny movie or hang out with one of your funnier friends. Laughter relaxes your blood vessels and it’s a natural de-stressor.

Adding soyfoods to your lifestyle can help you gain health. Any changes you make can go a long way in reducing your risk of heart disease.