Heart Healthy Foods
This February, we're focusing on Heart Health with our blogs since it is National Heart Month! Heart disease is the leading cause of death globally and one major risk factor is high cholesterol. Below are some of the foods that can lower cholesterol and will help keep your heart healthy - happy reading & eating!
As part of a healthy diet, walnuts have been shown to help decrease your risk of heart disease. Eating walnuts can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and decrease blood pressure, two risk factors in heart disease. Walnuts are also rich in plant-based omega-3 fatty acids which help to decrease inflammation. Wow, all of that in those yummy nuts that are so versatile you can toss them into almost any meal!
Berries are the next superfood for heart health. I know one of these will be your new favorite berry to add to your grocery list.
- Blueberries contain "anthocyanins” which have been shown to reduce oxidative stress and lower the risk of heart disease. Blueberries can also improve your cholesterol by lowering your “bad” LDL cholesterol in the blood, reducing risk of heart disease.
- Strawberries are good for heart health too because they are an excellent source of Vitamin C, anti-oxidants,and fiber which helps control blood sugar levels and reduces risk of heart disease. Berries are also low in sugar, which makes them an ideal snack or healthy breakfast topping.
- Acai berries are worth mentioning as they have become a popular health food supplement because of the high antioxidant content. Acai berries grow on acai palm trees native to the Brazilian Amazon region. This is the best news yet: acai berries contain 10 times more antioxidants than blueberries! You may find it as a juice or freeze-dried fruit, so make sure to check out the content on the label. With the high antioxidants, this may reduce blood cholesterol, oxidative stress, and even reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Time to go shopping!
OATMEAL OR OATS
Oats are loaded with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are a whole grain and contain more protein and fat than most other grains. Here is the impressive list of vitamins and minerals in oats: Manganese, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Folate, B1, and B5. They also contain smaller amounts of calcium, B6 and B3. Oats are the most nutrient dense food we can add to our diet.
Studies of oats have shown the beta-glucan fiber is effective at reducing both total and LDL cholesterol levels. It can be very simple to add oats to your diet. Make sure you avoid the quick oats, as they are highly processed. Instead, choose steel oats or the traditional slower cooking brands. In one meal, you can decrease your chances of heart disease by having a delicious bowl of oatmeal, walnuts, and berries. Top it off with some yogurt and you have a heart healthy meal high in fiber! If you are not into making oatmeal, try adding oats into your baked goods, granola, and breads.
Cheers to hearth health!!
Lisa Tidman PTA, Health Coach, Yoga Instructor
PT360 Williston VT