Best Heart Healthy Foods
Posted on Friday, February 15th, 2013 at 10:05 am
February is American Heart Month! What better time to pay extra attention to your own heart than during the month of love? What you eat directly affects how you feel and how well your body stays in shape. A healthy diet packed with whole foods, fresh vegetables, grains, fish and more will help keep your ticker ticking longer! In honor of American Heart Month, here are some foods you should stock up on and incorporate into your diet for a long and healthy life!
Oats are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, and folate. They also have tons of fiber, which help lower levels of bad cholesterol. Steel-cut oats contain more fiber than their instant counterparts, so it’s a better choice in the morning. Oatmeal is a great food to buy in bulk to save a little extra cash!
Salmon contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce blood pressure and clotting. It also has a high level of an antioxidant called astaxanthin. Research shows that eating salmon just twice a week may reduce your risk of death from a heart attack by up to one-third. It’s better to choose wild salmon over farm-raised because they are free from the insecticides, pesticides, and heavy metals. If you aren’t fond of salmon, you can opt for another oily fish like mackerel, tuna, herring, or sardines.
Avocado and Olive Oil
Both olive oil and avocado are packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. They both help to lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol levels while raising the amount of HDL (good) cholesterol. Avocados allow for the absorption of carotenoids like beta-carotene and lycopene. Extra-virgin or virgin olive oils are the least processed making them the best for your heart. Use it in place of butter when cooking any of your meals.
Flaxseed is high in fiber and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The best thing is that flaxseed can be added to a ton of foods for an added boost. Top your oatmeal or cereal with some flaxseed, add it to your favorite baked recipes, or ground it up and hide it in a variety of foods!
Berries contain a lot of anti-inflammatories, which help lower your risk of heart disease and cancer. Blueberries are considered a superfood since they are high in antioxidants, but any berry variety is great for you!
Legumes like lentils, chickpeas, and black or kidney beans are packed with fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and soluble fiber. The best thing about legumes is they are super versatile and easy to buy in bulk for maximum savings. Add them to your favorite soup or chili.
Chocolate and Red Wine
Dark chocolate and red wines have tons of antioxidants. Both also include the flavonoid catechin. When selecting your chocolate, opt for one with 70% or greater cocoa. Chocolate and red wine complement each other, making them a great dessert choice!