By: Crosby Staff
Diet and exercise go hand in hand to support a healthy heart. Here are our 12 favorite options to add to your diet to support your heart health.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown in several studies to lower the risk of arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) and atherosclerosis (plaque build-up in the arteries) and decrease triglycerides. Salmon and other fatty fish provides a great amount of these acids. Try to eat Salmon and other fish such as sardines at least twice a week.
Old-fashioned oats are high in soluble fiber, which can lower cholesterol. In the digestive tract, oatmeal absorbs cholesterol so that it is not absorbed in the bloodstream. Plus, you can add a variety of toppings to oatmeal to make a delicious variety of breakfast options each morning.
Full of antioxidants, blueberries along with strawberries and other berries may decrease blood pressure and dilate blood vessels. Plus, if you have a sweet tooth, berries are a great snack option.
Speaking of sweet tooth, we’re happy to add chocolate on our list of heart healthy foods. Dark chocolate (made of at least 70% cocoa), contains flavonoids called polyphenols, which may help blood pressure, clotting, and inflammation.
Get your daily serving of vitamin C which has been linked with a lower risk of heart disease by adding citrus fruits to your diet. Citrus fruits include many types of fruits, such as lemons, limes, grapefruit, and several types of oranges.
Nuts provide vitamin E and a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, tied to anti-inflammation, improved circulation and lower cholesterol. Nuts are a great snack option and can be added to any meal during the day. Options include almonds, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts and macadamia nuts and more.
If you’re looking for a healthy source of protein try Legumes such as beans, lentils, and peas. Plus, legumes may help control blood sugar in people with diabetes. Lowering blood sugar levels is key in helping people avoid diabetes complications, one of which is heart disease.
Extra-virgin olive oil
Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fat, which can help reduce both cholesterol and blood sugar levels. You can easily add this oil as a salad dressing or base to your meals. Olives themselves—both green and black—are another source of “good” fat.
Tomatoes are high in heart-healthy potassium and low in calories and sugar. Plus, they’re a good source of the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that may help lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, keep blood vessels open, and lower heart attack risk.
Broccoli, Spinach and kale
Green vegetables are high in carotenoids, which act as antioxidants and counter potentially harmful compounds in your body. They’re also high in fiber and contain tons of vitamins and minerals. Kale also has some omega-3 fatty acids.
Flax seeds as well as chia seeds are high in plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber. Plus, flax seeds can be consumed in a variety of ways. Try them ground up with other heart-healthy foods, such as dried blueberries, cranberries, or oatmeal or even blended with plant milk and fruit to create a smoothie.
Like olive oil, avocados are rich in monounsaturated fat, which may lower heart disease risk factors, such as cholesterol. They’re also high in antioxidants and in potassium and can be eaten on their own or blended into guacamole.
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