It’s no secret that the heart is one of the most critical organs in the body and is essential for life.
It’s a powerful organ, working around the clock to pump blood throughout the body by way of the circulatory system. This process supplies oxygen and nutrients to the body while removing carbon dioxide and other wastes, enabling all other systems in our bodies to work.
When the heart isn’t supported and kept in optimal health, there’s risk of clogged arteries, high blood pressure (which means working overtime for the heart), inflammation, heart attack, stroke and more.
There are lots of ways to keep your heart healthy - exercise being one of them. That said, what you put into your body can also support the health of your heart. Keep reading for 8 common foods that should be part of your weekly diet, along with some ideas for how to prepare them.
They’re high in vitamin K and nitrates, which can help reduce blood pressure; higher intake is associated with a lower risk of heart disease
Add spinach into an egg scramble for breakfast or have a leafy greens salad with lunch or dinner.
They’re rich in antioxidants that protect against oxidative stress and inflammation that contribute to the development of heart disease.
Add berries to yogurt or cereal at breakfast or to a salad with lunch/dinner. You can also enjoy berries as a dessert.
They’re rich in dietary fiber, which is important to keep blood cholesterol at a healthy level, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Studies have found eating 3+ servings of whole grains per day day is associated with a 22% lower risk of heart disease.
Try a slice of whole grain toast (topped with avocado) for breakfast or even have a side of brown rice with lunch or dinner.
They’re a rich source of potassium and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, linked to lower levels of cholesterol and ultimately, a lower risk of heart disease.
Slice up a fresh avocado and have it with eggs or cottage cheese. If you’re looking for more of a snack you can even make guacamole.
These healthy plant-based fats are protective against cardiovascular disease and serve as an alternative to marine-based Omega 3s (such as fish oil, or what you’d find in salmon).
You can fit these in through your daily dose of Hemp Oil, Primrose Oil, Pumpkin Seed Oil or even by cooking with Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. Even putting a teaspoon of coconut oil into your coffee will help supply your body with essential Omegas.
They provide the body with healthy fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and are rich in antioxidants. Together with all these nutrients walnuts are said to reduce oxidative stress in the body and reduce inflammation which is essential to heart health.
Walnuts make a great snack on their own - pack a dozen walnuts in a bag to eat throughout the day. You can also add walnuts to your yogurt at breakfast time or to your salad for lunch or dinner.
It’s full of antioxidants which could relieve inflammation and decrease risk of chronic disease. It’s also rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and studies have associated it with improved heart health.
Use olive oil for a clean salad dressing instead of a proceed option or substitute it in when cooking when you’d otherwise use another, less healthy oil.
It’s rich in antioxidants that can boost heart health. One study showed that participants who ate chocolate 5+ times a week had a 57% lower risk of coronary heart disease than non-chocolate eaters. It also lowers the risk of calcified plaque in arteries.
Have part of a dark chocolate bar for dessert, or even try dark chocolate covered fruit as a snack.
If you’re thinking this feels like a long list to begin building into your diet, no need to worry. Pick one or two that fit best into your daily routine, and start there. Taking it one step at a time is better than not beginning at all.
Comments will be approved before showing up.