Sparkle & Smile

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Healthy Body Uncategorized

The 10 Best Foods for Your Heart

February 17, 2015

Consuming foods that are healthy is a very important step in taking care of your heart. According to the American Heart Association, here are ten super foods that can reduce your risk of heart disease and put you on the right track towards a happy, healthy diet:

Oatmeal is a fiber-rich food that is full of omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. Steel cut oatmeal can lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and help keep arteries clear. Research has shown that a diet high in oats can reduce the risk for heart disease. Top off your morning oatmeal with some fruit, substitute about Continue reading below…

one third of the flour with oats in pancakes, muffins, and cookies. Try replacing bread crumbs in meatloaf or chicken.

Salmon is packed with protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon contains astaxanthin, a carotenoid that acts as a powerful antioxidant. Just two servings of wild salmon a week can help reduce blood pressure and clotting. If salmon is not your favorite choice of fish, try other oily fish such as herring, tuna, sardines, or mackerel that will boost your heart in the same way. Avocados are packed with monounsaturated fat that helps lower LDL levels and raise HDL cholesterol. Avocados also help us absorb the carotenoids lycopene and beta-carotene, which are important for a healthy heart. Add some avocado to your favorite salad or sandwich.

Olive oil is stock full of monounsaturated fats, which helps lower LDL cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk of developing heart disease. Opt for virgin or extra virgin olive oils because they are the least processed. Replace butter with olive oil for a healthier diet.

Nuts are a great source of healthy fat because they add fiber to our diets. Macadamia nuts, and almonds contain poly and monounsaturated fats while walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids. Eat them by the handful or sprinkle the on your favorite dessert or salad.

Blueberries are one of the most powerful disease-fighting foods because they are full of vitamin C and fiber. They also contain the antioxidant anthocyanins that give the berry its dark color. Other berries, such as blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries, are full of anti-inflammatories that are great for your vascular health and can reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. Add some berries to your daily diet in your morning cereal or pancakes, in your salad, or on your yogurt.

Legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans and black beans, are stock full of fiber, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Try making a triple bean salad or mix a variety of beans to your homemade soup.

Spinach is a powerhouse vegetable. The color of spinach comes a variety of phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals, like iron, fiber, potassium, lutein, and folate, which helps protect against heart disease and preserve your eyesight. Add spinach to omelets, soups, pastas, pizzas, and salads.

Soy is a protein containing fiber, minerals, and vitamins. A diet rich in soy can lower triglycerides, which keeps your heart strong by preventing cardiovascular disease. Soy helps lower cholesterol, and since it is low in saturated fat, soy is a great source of lean protein. Opt for natural sources of soy, like edamame, tempeh, or organic silken tofu. Add some soy milk to cereal, chocolate milk, or even your favorite smoothie.

Flaxseed is full of fiber, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Add to a bowl of whole grain cereal, or even to your morning protein drink.

Learn to love your heart by adding these powerful foods into your daily diet. What are your favorite heart healthy recipes? Share them with us!

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