Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. What we put on our plate is one of, if not THE most important way we can protect our hearts. Several foods directly impact our blood pressure, blood cholesterol, inflammation, and other factors involved in heart disease. Show your heart some love and incorporate these heart healthy foods into your diet!
Omega-3 Rich Fish
These fish are high in special essential fats called Omega 3s. These fats play a vital role in decreasing inflammation, and promoting your heart health, among tons of other benefits! Aim for 2 servings a week. Omega 3 rich fish include:
berries contain several antioxidants as well as phytonutrients that promote your heart health.Antioxidants help neutralize harmful free radicals, preventing oxidative damage and inflammation which both play a role in heart disease. Soluble fiber in berries helps to lower cholesterol, another strategy to improve your heart health!
Omega 3 rich nuts and seeds
it’s the omega 3s again! If you don’t eat fish, no worries. You can get plenty of omega 3s AND FIBER from these extremely rich plant sources:
- chia seeds
- flax seeds
one of the richest whole-food sources of soluble fiber! Fiber helps lower your cholesterol, and lowering your cholesterol is just one way to protect your heart!
oatmeal, like many other whole grains, contains fiber that helps to lower cholesterol. Oats contain a fiber called beta-glucan) which lowers your LDL cholesterol. you can also find beta-glucans in barley, shiitake mushrooms, and seaweed.
Avocados: monounsaturated fats are responsible for the creamy texture. Replacing some of your saturated fats like butter and cheese with avocado can help improve your cholesterol.
Avocados are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats that are responsible for its creamy texture. By replacing some of your saturated fats (like cheese and butter - fine in moderation!) with avocado, you can improve your cholesterol.
Leafy Green Veggies
Rich in vitamins and antioxidants which are protective of your heart! Specifically, they are rich in vitamin K which protects your arteries and promotes healthy blood clotting. They also have dietary nitrates that help lower blood pressure and improve blood vessel lining.
Dark Chocolate... with some conditions
Chocolate comes from the plant cacao. it is very rich in flavanols, which can help lower your blood pressure and prevent blood clots and also acts as an antioxidant, which can keep cholesterol from sticking to your arteries’ walls. However, most chocolate, dark chocolate included, is so over processed that these health benefits are outweighed by the sugar and processing involved.
To get the benefits:
- Choose dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) with the least amount of sugar possible, if any. We like Lily’s Dark Chocolate which is sweetened with stevia!
- eat pure cacao in the form of cacao nibs or cacao powder. Sprinkle it on yogurt or blend into smoothies!
Tomatoes contain lycopene, a natural pigment with powerful antioxidant properties!