Happy Fri-YAY! Before we share our fun weekend plans (and a super yummy recipe), did ya’ll know that February is American Heart Month?! Linking up with Fitness, Health and Happiness today!
Even if you don’t work in the health field, you probably know that heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans. It’s also responsible for 17% of health care spending (Source)!
But, there are plenty of easy lifestyle changes that can drastically lower the risk that we can do daily, such as:
- walking 30 minutes/day (extra points for strength training)
- eating a high fiber diet (with lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains!)
- choosing lower sodium foods and monitoring blood pressure
- keeping an eye on blood sugar (exercise helps both – double win!)
- sticking with moderate amounts of alcohol (1 drink/day for women, 2 for men) and not smoking.
Oatmeal is one of my favorite foods, hands down. Aside from being over-the-moon delicious, oats are also a great choice for lowering cholesterol and can help lower blood pressure too, both of which are factors related to heart disease!
Oats are rich in soluble fiber, specifically beta-glucans, which can help reduce cholesterol. Can I get all science-y on you for a minute? Basically, these fibers form a gel in our intestines, which prolongs the delivery of glucose into the blood. The gel recruits excess cholesterol that’s hanging out in our intestines and binds to it, preventing this excess cholesterol from being absorbed. We will then excrete this gel (fiber), along with excess cholesterol, preventing our blood levels from rising. Pretty cool, huh!!!? #science.
Research shows that consuming 3 grams of beta-glucans a day, from sources like oats and barley, can help lower blood cholesterol by 5-8%! Therefore, oatmeal is a great choice for monitoring cholesterol and helping with heart disease.
…..Which is why I came up with an oatmeal recipe that you can eat for the rest of February and then for the rest of the year because IT. IS. THAT. GOOD.
I sort of made this by accident..then I made it again…and again. It evolved out of my love for coconut. I love the coconut flavor anytime, anywhere. Gimme coconut oil, coconut flakes, coconut milk, coconut flour, coconut froth, coconut bread/cookies, coconut peanut butter, seriously – gimme anything coconut. Anyone else a coconut fanatic out there?
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
- 1 cup coconut milk, I used Trader Joe's or vanilla almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- dash of cinnamon
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp shredded coconut, + 1 tsp for topping
- 2 tbsp vanilla greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup strawberries
- Toppings: shredded coconut, chocolate chips
- Mix ingredients in container and let sit in the fridge overnight.
- In the morning, add toppings and enjoy with a warm mug of coffee!
I don’t recommend skimping on the chia seeds or greek yogurt. They really set this baby apart, and fluff this up and enhance the creaminess. You’ll thank me.
I hope this is something you’ll consider adding to your rotation. You can switch it up with other fruit toppings too, but always peanut butter!
[Tweet “These strawberry vanilla coconut swirl overnight oats are a heart-healthy recipe for Heart Month!”]
Have a great weekend, friends. Eat something yummy!
What’s your favorite form of coconut? (Milk, flakes, butter)? Mine would have to be coconut flour for its versatility.
Random: Almond milk or Coconut Milk? Coconut milk for me, but I realllly dig the Almond-Coconut Blend!