Right now we’re focused on all matters of the heart because February is Heart Health Month. Science continues to prove the power of nutrition for prevention, healing and supporting our bodies’ best health. In addition to exercise, there are 28 days in February so today we’re sharing the 28 best heart healthy foods for your body.
28 Heart Healthy Foods
Salmon: Salmon is the holy grail of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s help lower blood pressure levels and triglycerides while also reducing inflammation.
Almonds: You can get all nutty for the fiber and Vitamin E found in almonds because they lower bad cholesterol. And people who eat nuts with healthy fats tend to weigh less, which is a positive indicator for heart health.
Dark Chocolate: When you select dark chocolate with 70% cocoa or greater, you’re getting terrific antioxidants that support cardiovascular health. Studies show eating this scrumptious food can lower risk of heart attack and stroke.
Oatmeal: It’s all about the soluble fiber that makes oatmeal a heart-healthy superfood. It not only keeps you satiated for longer, but it also absorbs cholesterol before it enters the bloodstream. (Oatmeal is also a galactogogue, which may boost milk supply for nursing moms.)
Spinach & Kale: Cruciferous vegetables like spinach and kale are chock full of fantastic vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and other phyto-nutrients that support your heart and entire body.
Blueberries: Berries, especially blueberries, contain supercharged antioxidants like flavenoids and anthocyanins that lower blood pressure and dilate blood vessels for a healthier flow of blood throughout the body.
Avocado: With a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats, avocados are excellent for lowering bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol levels.
Beans: Dark beans contain antioxidants, folate (and other B vitamins) and magnesium which contribute to lower blood pressure levels. Plus their fiber helps to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Walnuts: Another food rich in omega-3 fatty acids is walnuts. Plus, these ridged nuts contain monounsaturated fats, fiber and plant sterols that help lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation.
Flax Seeds: Ground flax seeds are super easy to incorporate into a variety of foods from smoothies and oatmeal, to stews and soups. As you stir in the goodness you’re adding a whopping amount of omega-3 fatty acids to your diet.
Soy: Soy products like tofu, edamame and soy milk are wonderful source of vegetarian protein as well as polyunsaturated fats and a wealth of minerals.
Coffee: Your daily coffee habit may significantly reduce your risk of heart disease. The antioxidants found in coffee are super at cleansing your body and scavenging free radicals.
Citrus Fruits: Juicy oranges and other citrus fruits boast heart-friendly nutrients like flavenoids, hesperidin and Vitamin C (of course), which keeps your blood flowing smoothing and lowers risk of stroke.
Olive Oil: This healthy fat is one of the best for cooking, especially when you use it to replace heart enemies like saturated fats.
Sweet Potato: In addition to a healthy dose of lycopene and Vitamin A, sweet potatoes help balance blood sugar levels far better than regular potatoes. Options that lower blood glucose spikes and reduce risk of diabetes are heart healthy foods.
Broccoli & Cauliflower: These cousin cruciferous vegetables are bursting with vitamins, minerals and fiber. All vegetables are good for your body but green leafy (or flowery) vegetables are the best.
Green Tea: With antioxidant levels far superior to most foods, green tea is an ancient heart healthy beverage that is known to reduce heart disease and stroke when consumed regularly. Plus the robust flavor can replace sugar beverages that add unnecessary calories to your diet.
Herbs: Using fresh herbs in your cooking helps reduce the need for added salt and fats. Instead you can flavor your food with herbs like sage, basil, rosemary and garlic. Many herbs can help you relax and reduce stress and anxiety.
Brussels Sprouts: These cute little balls of goodness are fantastic for your heart. With a plethora of nutrients, they help reduce inflammation and strengthen blood vessels.
Apples: Polyphenols, pectin and fiber in sweet, delicious apples helps lower LDL cholesterol levels by up to 40%.
Red Wine: A glass of red wine every now and then can help your heart thanks to the antioxidants resveratrol and catechins that support strong artery walls.
Low Fat Yogurt: As good as dairy is for your bones, it also helps you lower high blood pressure. Low fat yogurt is best and contains more calcium.
Chia Seeds: Teeny tiny but quite mighty, Chia seeds have lots of omega-3 fatty acids that keep cholesterol and plaque at bay.
Cherries: Anthocyanins found in every kind of cherry, from fresh to dried to juiced, helps protect blood vessels.
Whole Grains: Whole grains like brown rice, 100% whole wheat bread and many cereals help keep cholesterol levels in check. Plus they contain lots of fiber.
Tomatoes: Lycopene, Vitamin C and carotenoids found in tomatoes support heart health. The same is true of other bright red and orange fruits and vegetables.
Asparagus: In addition to many antioxidants, asparagus contains lots of Vitamin K that helps blood clot.
Tuna: Another omega-3 superfood that is a great alternative to salmon is tuna. White Albacore tuna is the healthiest option.
Sources: WebMD, Health, Prevention, Cooking Light and Cleveland Clinic