As some of you may know, the American Heart Association has designate February as heart health month. Unfortunately, in the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Fortunately, it is also one of the most preventable. Making heart-healthy diet choices, being aware of your family’s health history and the risk factors for heart disease, seeing your doctor regularly and working with your physician to manage any health challenges are all important factors in saving lives from this often silent killer. One of the most profound impacts you can have on your heart is being aware of the foods you put into your body. Below are some heart healthy choices.
- Salmon: Salmon and other fatty fish like mackerel, sardines and tuna are loaded with heart healthy omega-3’s. Try for at least two servings of fatty fish a week.
- Blueberries and strawberries: Blueberries, strawberries and other berries are high in anthocyanins, an antioxidant that decreases blood pressure and dilutes blood vessels. Anthocyanins give plants their red and blue colors.
- Oatmeal: Oatmeal is an amazing source of soluble fiber which acts like a brush to help sweep cholesterol out of the body. Avoid instant oats which are often filled with sugar. Instead opt for quick cooking or steel cut varieties.
- Green vegetables: Green vegetables may provide extra protection to your heart. They are high in carotenoids, which act as antioxidants to free your body of potentially damaging compounds. They’re also high in fiber and are loaded with vitamins and minerals to help your body perform necessary functions at optimal levels.
- Red wine: Red wine, or small amounts of any type of alcohol, are thought to lower heart disease risk. Limit your consumption to 1-2 drinks a day. Any amount beyond that may actually increase your risk.
- Dark chocolate: Chocolate made of at least 70% cocoa has been shown to reduce heart attacks and strokes. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids called polyphenols, which may help blood pressure, clotting, and inflammation.
Photo from flickr.