The true secret to heart health is eating a variety of nutrient dense foods. Fresh produce should lay the foundation for this heart healthy diet, due to their protective benefit of seeking out and neutralizing free radicals that are detrimental to your health and to your heart. Whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts, fatty fish, and teas are just as important, offering all sorts of complex heart-protective phytonutrients.
Our society is obsessed with finding the one magic food to cure all, when the truth is you need to eat a variety of foods and look for multiple ways to get all the different nutrients you need, plus exercise! Here are the best heart healthy foods to add to your diet:
- Ground flaxseed. This is an Omega-3 fatty acid, which contains phytoestrogens. The flaxseed needs to be milled-grounded in order to reap the benefits. These anti-inflammatory Omega-3s have been linked to helping boost your immune system, lower blood pressure, reduce blood clots, protect against heart attacks, increase “good” HDL levels, lower triglyceride levels, & protect arteries from plaque buildup. You can sprinkle ground flaxseed to yogurt, cereal, sandwiches, muffins, actually to anything you want.
- Salmon. Also contains the healthy Omega-3 heart healthy fat. It’s recommended to eat these types of fish two times a week.
- Walnuts and Almonds. Nuts contain heart-protective Phytosterols, which seem to reduce blood cholesterol. Eat a handful a day to help you heart! You can eat them by themselves of incorporate them into your meals, tossed in yogurt, added in a salad or stir fry, etc.
- Oatmeal. Contains fiber, which binds cholesterol, which in turn protects your heart.
- Soy. It’s recommended to consume 25 grams of soy in addition to a low saturated fat and cholesterol diet to reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Blueberries and oranges. Packed with antioxidants that seek out harmful free radicals, can help protect blood vessels, lower blood pressure, and reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol.
*You want to eat the whole-food, meaning you want to eat everything in its natural, whole form. Remember, the less processed a food is the better it is for you!
February 18th, 2009