Pork Can Play a Role in Heart-Healthy Living

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February is American Heart Month, and ironically it can be a challenging month to do heart-healthy activities and even maintain a heart-healthy diet.

Kara Behlke, Director of Nutrition and Dietetics with the National Pork Board says you are not alone if you are struggling to achieve your health goals. Her advice is to keep those goals realistic.

“You know, one way to do that is by eating protein with each of your meals. So, something like the pork tenderloin is one of my favorite cuts that you know, simple to prepare, it’s super tasty. So, you feel like you’re getting the nutrition you need and it’s really tasty and enjoyable, so I think setting realistic goals for yourself is one way to achieve success and maintain your goals throughout the year.”

During American Heart Month, Behlke reminds us pork is part of a heart healthy diet, and several cuts are certified by the American Heart Association as Heart Check Certified Food.

“Well, the Pork Checkoff has actually worked with the American Heart Association in the past, to certify select lean pork cuts with a heart check food certification program. And that’s the red heart check that many of us are familiar with. So, the boneless pork sirloin roast and the pork tenderloin are both American Heart Association heart check certified food products. That just makes it a little easier when you’re out shopping, you can make heart healthy food choices with confidence, you just look for the familiar red heart check with the white checkmark logo and American Heart Association name.”

The nutrients in pork are important to your health, according to Behlke.

“Pork is, it’s naturally high on nutrients, low on calories, low in sodium, as well as it’s a good source of potassium. So, if you think about just a three-ounce serving of pork tenderloin, this has 49 milligrams of sodium 350 milligrams of potassium, so it does fit a heart healthy diet so customers don’t always realize that the lower sodium intake, coupled with higher potassium actually helps regulate blood pressure, which helps produce a healthy heart.”

Behlke credits pork producers for their work in raising leaner pigs, and she reminds us that a well-balanced diet includes foods from all groups.

“For a heart healthy diet, be sure you eat a variety of foods from all food groups. So, we know pork tenderloin and the poor loin roast provide ample amounts of protein, but be sure you’re getting in your fruits, veggies, your whole grains and low-fat dairy because together, you’re going to have a well-balanced diet that’s going to help you feel full and satisfied.”

More information about the nutritional value of pork is at www.pork.org.

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