February is American Heart Month, but that doesn’t mean you should only worry about having a healthy heart for 28 days out of the year. Heart health is incredibly important; if you take care of your heart, you’ll be less likely to suffer from heart disease and stroke, the most common killer in the USA.
The foods that you eat can have a great impact on your heart’s health. Think of your heart as a high performance sports car: if you put super-premium fuel in, you’ll get better results. Here are nine super-premium foods to keep your ticker in tip-top shape:
Oatmeal Oatmeal is good for your heart because it contains omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, potassium, and folate. The fiber in oatmeal is very beneficial for your heart because it can lower levels of your bad cholesterol (LDL), which can clear up your arteries.
Avocados Like oatmeal, avocados will help lower your LDL cholesterol levels; they will also raise the amount of good cholesterol (HDL) in your body. They also make it easier for your body to absorb other nutrients that are good for your heart, such as beta-carotene and lycopene.
Following the Mediterranean diet is not only tasty, but has a great benefit on your brain health. Recent research conducted at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago tracked nearly 4,000 adults over the age of 65. Their results confirmed what we’ve heard many times: the so-called Mediterranean Diet, a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and olive oil, helps your brain to age gracefully.
Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, this research proved that those who followed the diet were less likely to struggle with everyday tasks as they grew older. The study also revealed that those on a steady diet of healthy foods performed much better than those who ate lots of red meat, white bread and processed foods, often known as the “American” diet. Researchers found that the best performers consumed lots of fruit, vegetables, fish, olive oil, beans, nuts and moderate amounts of alcohol. The foods have a positive affect on the brain, protecting it by reducing damage caused by oxidative stress.
Salads are a convenient and tasty way to make sure you’re getting enough vegetables in your diet but sometimes, the addition of salad dressing can add fat and empty calories to your otherwise healthy plate.
Luckily, recent studies show that some salad dressing varieties, like types made with vegetable oils, can actually help your body absorb nutrients.
According to Patricia Groziak, M.S., R.D., the senior nutrition manager for Unilever, the presence of dietary fat is important for the body’s absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A and E.
“A variety of studies have looked at the body’s absorption of these vitamins from common food sources, including raw vegetable salads,” said Groziak. “Research has shown that absorption of carotenoids (vitamin A) and vitamin E is greater when salad vegetables are eaten with full-fat or reduced-fat dressings as compared with a dressing that contained no oil.”
The American vocabulary uses “fat” as a negative adjective when actually, some fat is beneficial to your health. When it comes to diet, certain types of dietary fat an aid weight loss and help improve bodily functions.
The Harvard School of Public Health says to avoid trans-fats, limit saturated fats and choose healthy fats. What are healthy fats, you may ask? The “good fats” include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which have been said to help lower disease risk.
Women’s Health has released a list of 9 Power Food Pairings – combinations of food items that give you more nutritional value when eaten together. Even better, they seem like pretty easy combinations to work into your diet. Check out Women’s Health for the full list and read my favorites below.
That time of the month may have you reaching for less nutritious foods, but research shows less pre-menstrual irritability in women who ingest the most calcium and vitamin D. Eggs are an excellent source of vitamin D, and broccoli provides easily-absorbed calcium. I tend to crave a little fat, so a broccoli and cheese omelet sounds ideal to me. (more…)