5 Heart-Friendly Foods for 2013
A new year means a fresh start for you and especially your heart.
Eating heart-healthy foods has many benefits. Your heart is the organ that pumps blood throughout your body and you want to keep it in top shape. So feed your heart with healthy foods starting now.
1. Beans, Nuts, & Legumes: Soy without added salt can lower cholesterol and beans contain fiber for good health. Eating nuts like pecans, walnuts, and almonds two to four times a week has been linked to lower incidences of heart disease.
2. Fruit: An apple a day might really keep the doctor away by preventing plaque in the arteries. A daily serving of berries can lower your blood pressure and increase good cholesterol (HDL). Pomegranates are linked to lower blood pressure and less plaque buildup in the arteries and bananas contain potassium to help your body regulate sodium. Add fruit to yogurt which reduces risk for gum disease, which could lead to heart disease if left untreated.
3. Vegetables: Tomatoes contain heart-healthy vitamins and minerals. Avocado lowers LDL levels and raises HDL levels. Spinach contains healthy lutein, folate, and potassium.
4. Fish: Salmon especially contains healthy omega-3 fats and can help lower blood pressure. Replace red meat with fish for a delicious meal that's also good for your heart.
5. Grains & Fiber: Oatmeal contains omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. Whole grains contribute to healthy weight and contain antioxidants. Flaxseed sprinkled on cereal, yogurt, or oatmeal ups the heart health factor with omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. Plus, fiber helps lower bad cholesterol (LDL).
Bonus: Popcorn is full of antioxidants, but lay off the butter and salt. Alcohol, particularly wine, in moderation can improve good cholesterol (HDL) and reduce risk for blood clots. In moderation chocolate, specifically dark, contributes to heart health.
Central Florida Cardiac & Vascular Institute promotes heart-healthy eating all year long. For more tips on planning your heart healthy menu, check out our online health library. If you would like answers to any of your health questions or a physician referral, please call our free Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-800-447-8206.