What does oatmeal, beans and skinless chicken have in common? They are all heart healthy foods; yet don’t do a whole lot to tantalize the taste buds. Fortunately, eating for heart health doesn’t mean a life sentence of bland foods or boring flavors.
By thinking beyond the oatmeal box, you can reinvent your meals while keeping heart health top of mind. This is important for everyone because heart disease – which includes stroke and other cardiovascular diseases – is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States, according to the American Heart Association.
Mindful eating is one of the best ways to maintain heart health. With these 10 heart-healthy foods, you won’t mind sitting down to a wholesome meal that supports the hardest working muscle in your body.
Munch on blueberries and strawberries – your heart will thank you. By eating three or more servings of these berries a week, women can reduce their risk of heart attack by 32 percent, according the journal Circulation.
2. Sprouted Grain English Muffins
Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Flax English Muffins are made with heart healthy flax seeds loaded with omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids. Just pop them in the toaster for a rich nutty taste that excites the taste buds! Sprouted to maximize nutrition and digestibility, each muffin provides an impressive amount of plant protein, too. Learn more at www.foodforlife.com.
Spuds get a bad rap for being a starch, but they actually are a positive part of a heart-healthy diet. Rich in potassium, potatoes can help lower blood pressure. Remember to avoid frying potatoes and try baking or boiling instead.
Looking for a great meat alternative? Because tofu is made from soy protein, it is believed to help lower levels of bad cholesterol (LDL), making it fantastic for heart-healthy eating. Explore new recipes or use it as a substitute in current favorites.
5. Red Wine
Say cheers to good heart health with a glass of red wine. The Mayo Clinic notes alcohol and antioxidants in red wine may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of the good high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) and protecting against artery damage.
Popeye was right – spinach is an amazing food that packs a heart-healthy punch. Full of vitamins, fiber and carotenoids that act as antioxidants, spinach is a mean, green superfood. Add to sandwiches, salads and smoothies regularly.
7. Dark Chocolate
Have a sugar tooth? Indulge it while bettering your heart. A square or two of dark chocolate may be good for your heart, just make sure the bar is 70 percent cocoa or higher.
It’s easy to cut down on red meat consumption with versatile salmon. Its meaty consistency is satisfying while offering endless options for grilling, steaming or baking. Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, salmon will make your heart jump with joy.
Packed with lycopene, vitamin C and alpha- and beta-carotene, tomatoes are a smart addition to any heart-healthy meal. Eat them fresh or sundried to enjoy the many benefits. Plus, because they’re low in calories and sugar, they make an ideal guilt-free snack.
These fruits get their creamy texture from “good” (monounsaturated) fats, which lower your “bad” cholesterol. They seem to have an anti-inflammatory effect, so you don’t get chronic inflammation that makes atherosclerosis; the hardening of artery walls. Use mashed avocado as a spread in place of butter, or add cubes of it to salad, or over black bean chili. As delicious as they are, avocados are high in calories, so keep your portions modest.