06 Feb Heart Health Favorites
February is Heart Health month! It’s a good idea to take care of your ticker, and there’s plenty of easy and tasty ways to do so.
That bowl of oatmeal you had for breakfast might be more powerful than you think. Oats contain beta-glucan, a potent soluble fiber with blood sugar regulating benefits. Oats are also high in Vitamin E, which has long been found to be a protective vitamin for the heart.
Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart, the more you eat them, well….. you know the rest. There is actually much science behind this popular rhyme. Lentils are an excellent source of soluble fiber, which helps keep your arteries clean, reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke. Lentils are also excellent sources of magnesium and folate – two big promoters of heart health. Magnesium in particular improves blood flow, oxygen and nutrient distribution within your body.
Cocoa beans – from which dark chocolate is created – are rich in a class of plant nutrients called flavonoids. Flavonoids help protect the body from environmental toxins and damage. Flavanols are the main type of flavonoids found in cocoa. Research has shown flavanols to promote healthy blood pressure, improve blood flow and manage healthy blood clotting function.
Garlic possesses a myriad of health benefits, but one of the most significant is its positive effects on heart health. It serves as a preventative agent against many different conditions: hypertension, diabetes, thrombosis, etc. For heart health, garlic consumption helps reverse plaque build up in arteries. Sure, you may need some gum afterwards, but loading up on this powerhouse is SMART!
Avocados are not only an excellent source of protein and fat, but a heart-healthy superfood. Cholesterol, trans fat and sodium free, avocados are one of the few whole foods that are an excellent source of monounsaturated fat. For this reason, they may help lower your blood cholesterol level when consumed in place of saturated fat.
Blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries are not just delicious snacks or toppings on your favorite cereal, oatmeal or yogurt. They are an excellent source of polyphenols, which are associated with improved heart health. Polyphenols protect cells and body chemicals against damage caused by free radicals.
These beautiful fruits contain juicy seeds that are as nutrient-dense as they are delicious. The juice is a rich source of polyphenols, which double as antioxidants, protecting our cells from damage and lowering inflammation in our bodies. The juice is also believed to protect LDL (bad) cholesterol from damaging our arterial walls.
These little guys are PACKED with heart-happy fats and nutrients. Sardine are full the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have been found to lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels.
These tiny seeds pack a ton of punch when it comes to heart health. A mere teaspoon of the seeds contains nearly 2 grams of heart-healthy Omega-3 essential fatty acids. Flax seeds are also one of the best sources of plant-based foods for lignan’s, which have strong antioxidant qualities, helping support heart health.