Many foods can help keep your heart healthy and happily ticking. Some foods lower your blood pressure while others keep your cholesterol in line. Here are the TOP Foods That Help Keep Your Heart Healthy and happy. + FREE Heart Healthy Grocery Shopping List PRINTABLE.
High blood pressure is a major cardiovascular disease risk factor for many people around the globe. Having uncontrolled high blood pressure is one of the biggest risks for heart disease and stroke. High cholesterol can also increase the risk for heart disease. Having diabetes and obesity, smoking, eating unhealthy foods, and not getting enough physical activity can all contribute to developing heart disease. The good news is that heart disease can be prevented through healthy diet and lifestyle choices.
My father suffered a heart attack almost 20 years ago. That has changed his life but also affected our entire family. So heart health is a topic of much importance to me. A few years back I was on the same track as my father, leading one very unhealthy lifestyle with high chances to end up just like him - with lifelong heart disease. That made me thinking and pushed me to change my lifestyle.
February is Heart Month, and so it's a perfect time to talk about the risks of heart disease and steps you can take now to help your heart be healthy in the future. Many foods can help you with that. Some foods lower your blood pressure while others keep your cholesterol in line. Here are the Foods That Help Keep Your Heart Healthy and happy. These are all the foods I integrated into my daily healthy diet and hopefully made the impact on my heart health.
FISH HIGH IN OMEGA-3s
Fish are rich in lean protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids that help reducing inflammation and prevent cardiovascular diseases. Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are essential. But our daily diets don't supply us with body’s requirement of omega-3s. That's why eating fish high in omega-3s are so important. Salmon and other fatty fish like sardines and mackerel are the superstars of heart-healthy foods. Eating fatty fish at least twice a week is sooo good for our health.
NUTS AND SEEDS
A handful of nuts like walnuts or almonds will satisfy your hunger and in same time help your heart beating happily. They contain good-for-your-heart fibers, healthy unsaturated fats, and vitamin E, which all helps lowering bad cholesterol. Nuts and seeds - like chia seeds and flaxseeds are also an excellent source of omega-3 fats. You can have delicious Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Seed Pudding loaded with healthy fats for breakfast in the morning. Or have one or two Lemon Turmeric Energy Balls as a quick snack in the office. You can also toss a few nuts into your Roast Pumpkin Pear Salad. Eatherway, you can't never go wrong with nuts and seeds.
Whole grains are loaded with fibers, antioxidants, and other nutrients that help reduce the bad cholesterol levels, prevent inflammation and regulate blood pressure. All these help lowering the risk of fat accumulation, which in turn reduces the risk of heart or cardiovascular diseases. Other whole grains such as whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, and grits are also good for our heart. I suggest you always check food labels for those products making sure that they still contain the entire grain. I bet that having Peanut Butter Maca Overnight Oats for breakfast or delicious Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies for quick dessert or snack will make your heart (and tummy) very happy.
We usually turn to citrus fruits - like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons for cold prevention. But these fruits are also a great food for your heart, thanks to two different nutrients: pectin and potassium. Pectin is a soluble fiber that blocks cholesterol absorption and protects the heart from scarring, while potassium helps keeping blood pressure in check. Orange Mango Turmeric Smoothie Bowl and Grapefruit Ginger Smoothie may be great for boosting your immunity, but also they are great for your healthy heart too.
When it comes to your health, you really can't go wrong with veggies of any kind. But green vegetables they really give that extra boost to your heart. Green veggies - like kale, spinach, broccoli - are all high in carotenoids, a powerful antioxidant that helps your body get rid of harmful toxins. They're also high in fiber and contain tons of vitamins and minerals. You can stir fry your veggies, or have a bowl of salad. Don't be afraid to fill your plates with greens. Or you can make a delicious body-healing Spicy Broccoli Soup. Sooo healthy and so good.
Legumes are not only an excellent source of proteins, fibers, vitamins and many minerals but also phytonutrients and cholesterol-lowering antioxidants that help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Heart-healthy legumes include soy, chickpeas, beans, peas, lentils, black beans, kidney beans, etc. If you buy canned beans, look for low-sodium or no-salt-added varieties (sodium can raise your blood pressure). Rinse them in water to wash off any added salt. And then make a beautiful Arugula Beans Salad or Black Bean Corn and Avocado salsa. I dig that totally. Yum!
Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and all the other beautiful berries as well are loaded with powerful antioxidants - flavonoids that decrease blood pressure and dilate blood vessels keeping our blood evenly flowing thus preventing cardiac heart failure. They are also chock-full of heart-healthy phytonutrients and soluble fibers. Have rich Blueberry Banana Chia Smoothie or make nutrient-full Strawberry Ginger Smoothie Bowl. Add a handful of berries to yogurt for most delicious healthiest natural fruit yogurt treat. Your heart will jump for joy!
Raw cacao, the plant from which chocolate is made, is rich in flavanols, which helps lower your blood pressure and prevent blood clots. It is also full of powerful antioxidants, which keeps bad cholesterol from sticking to your artery walls. So having a piece of dark chocolate (the one that contains 80% or more cocoa and has NO refined sugars) is not only good for your mood but also for your heart. Yeey! I'm always in the mood for Cacao Turmeric Maca Hot Chocolate and I love to nibble a Chocolate Cinnamon Balls.
Unhealthy lifestyles are typically a family thing, and it's usually passed down through the generations. So don’t make it something that YOU just need to do. Make eating healthy a family change. Have your family participate and teach your kids to eat better and live healthier so they can then pass on to next generations. Be the example. Be the CHANGE. That way we can break the cycle of heart issues that so many families struggle with.
Grab FREE Heart Healthy Grocery Shopping List printable!
You can grab my free PDF copy of Heart Healthy Grocery Shopping List by clicking here. Print it and take it when you go for shopping next time. Make sure you fill your fridge and pantry with all the heart-healthy goodies.