Adding heart healthy foods to your diet is one of the best things you can do for your body. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death all over the world.
You probably saw that I lost my mom back in February. She'd had four strokes within about three years. When she was diagnosed with cancer, she just couldn't fight it in the condition she was in. It broke my heart.
A stroke happens when an artery to your brain is blocked, just like a heart attack is caused when an artery to your heart is blocked. Taking care of your heart can save your life.
The good news is that heart disease can be easily prevented with a few lifestyle changes. One of the best ways you can impact your health is to change what you eat, adding heart healthy foods to every meal.
Top Foods For A Healthy Heart
You need to make sure that you regularly eat foods that are good for your heart. The following foods help in regulating your cholesterol and even lower your blood pressure. Make sure to add one or two of them to your meals every day.
Arugula may look simple but it packs a lot of nutrients and offers many benefits to all who consume it regularly. A few of the nutrients arugula contains include vitamin K, vitamin C, and folate.
Not only that, but arugula can also help to lower your blood pressure as it contains magnesium, calcium, and potassium.
If you are not sure how to include arugula in your diet, an arugula salad is very easy to follow and only takes 15 minutes to prepare. See the recipe here.
The lycopene and potassium in tomatoes make them a hearty healthy food as well. Try one of these delicious recipes with tomatoes. The bruschetta is one of my favorites!
If you are looking for an easy fruit to eat regularly, you’ll be happy to know that bananas are not only healthy but delicious.
Bananas are great sources of potassium, which is essential in keeping your heart healthy. They also help to control your blood pressure, too.
Try this banana nut healthy oatmeal or these mini banana muffins.
People who eat potassium-rich foods lower their risk of contracting heart disease by as much as 27%. Bananas can be eaten on their own, but they can also be added to other recipes.
Banana bread is perfect for brunch or even as a snack. Try this wonderful banana bread recipe for a potassium boost as well as extra anti-oxidant benefits from the walnuts.
Oily fish is a fantastic source of Omega-3, which may help reduce the risk of plaque in your arteries. For example, grilled salmon not only has omega-3, but it also contains EPA and DHA which can help reduce inflammation throughout the body. Check out the recipe.
Scientists suggest we eat at least two portions of salmon or other fatty fish each week. If you are not a fan of salmon, other fatty fish include mackerel, sardines, tuna, or trout.
Whether it’s strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries, these are all great choices. All berries are good sources of polyphenol, which help eradicate free radicals in the body.
You might not think that chocolate would be heart-healthy, but if you go for the dark chocolate variety, you will definitely get a lot of benefits.
And not all desserts with chocolate are unhealthy. Try these dark chocolate Weight Watchers brownies!
Dark chocolate is a good source of antioxidants that neutralizes free radicals, known to cause serious diseases like diabetes or cancer.
The compounds in dark chocolate also help lower LDL cholesterol in your body. When choosing what to buy, be sure to get one that’s at least 70% cocoa.
Studies have shown that green tea not only can help with weight loss but also in reducing cholesterol levels. Green tea can also help in decreasing blood pressure. Try this tropical smoothie recipe with green tea.
Avocado is another food that is considered a good fat. They are filled with monounsaturated fatty acids which can also be found in olive oil.
These fatty acids help to reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. You can add avocados in dishes like guacamole or as a topping for your breakfast toast.
Like salmon, walnuts are also a great source of Omega-3. When you eat at least 5 ounces of this nut per week, you may reduce your risk of getting heart disease by half.
This is because walnuts can help to raise your HDL (good cholesterol ) and lower your LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. Add them to this healthy oatmeal breakfast recipe.
Heart-shaped fruits can indicate that they are good for heart health. Some of these include strawberries, red bell pepper, and of course, the red apple.
All these foods contain quercetin, a phytochemical that is not only anti-inflammatory but can also percent blood clots.
There are so many varieties of apples that you're sure to find a few you'll enjoy. Aside from consuming them as is, cooking really brings out the sweetness of apples.
There are many types of whole grains so choose a few among these you’d like to add to your everyday meals. You can choose from brown rice, whole wheat, oats, buckwheat, quinoa, rye, or barley. Try this Quinoa Chickpea Salad recipe.
What makes whole grains better than refined grains is that they can help in lowering the LDL levels in your body. Many studies have shown that you can lower your risk for heart disease by at least 22% if you eat whole grains daily.
Those suffering from high blood pressure should eat whole grains regularly because it can reduce systolic blood pressure.
Grapes contain nutrients that can reduce the damage in your heart muscles brought about by a high sodium diet. They can also reduce your LDL levels and lower your blood pressure.
Eating grapes on their own is a delicious, healthy treat, but try adding them in smoothies, freeze them and add to wine, or make them the main ingredient in a salad.
Eating good food is part of a healthy lifestyle, along with sleep, exercise, and good basic habits. Incorporate these foods into your daily menu and keep your heart strong and healthy.
This post was contributed by Catalina Castravet, creator of Sweet and Savory Meals. She is a professional chef and food blogger who is always on the lookout for tasty and delicious recipes.
Over the past 10 years, Catalina and her team have created well over one thousand recipes, from quick breakfasts to delicious dinner meals.
All the recipes on her site are shared for free with her followers and readers. Cooking is Catalina's love and passion.