Having a healthy heart is about more than just getting regular cardio exercise. What people eat can significantly affect their heart. Some foods can help with blood pressure and cholesterol levels, while others provide antioxidants that protect cardiovascular cells from damage. Here are some delicious and heart-healthy snacks and meals that everyone should add to their diet.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy, plant-based fats have been linked to lower cholesterol levels. They can also be a good source of fiber, which further reduces cardiovascular disease risks. Some good options include almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds.
Berries are a heart-healthy choice for many reasons. Their seeds provide people with fiber, and these tasty treats also contain a variety of antioxidants that can decrease damage to the heart on a cellular level. There are all sorts of ways to add berries to one’s diet, ranging from eating them by the handful to sprinkling them on yogurt or cereal.
High in fiber and low in fat, oats are always a significant part of a heart-healthy diet according to cardiology dietitian Julia Zumpano. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to add oats to one’s diet if a person is not a fan of classic oatmeal. Consider turning it into a salad topping, making homemade granola, or blending it up to create a breading for chicken or fish.
Red and Orange Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and veggies like squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, oranges, papaya, cantaloupes, and peppers get their warm color from carotenoids. These nutrients help build heart health. Another great benefit of these ingredients is that they are rich in potassium which can help to regulate blood pressure.
Legumes, which are beans and lentils, are an excellent source of fiber, and they also contain plenty of heart-healthy B vitamins. Another reason to like beans is that they are an excellent substitute for damaging red meat in recipes like three-bean chili or black bean burgers.
Fatty fish are another great source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids that protect the heart and lower cholesterol. Some popular options include mackerel, herring, sardines, and trout.
Incorporating these foods into your meals will help you lead a healthier lifestyle. After all, heart health starts at your table.