Keeping your heart healthy and strong should be at the top of everyone’s priority list. Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans every year. While this may sound scary, there is a silver lining: you can work to prevent heart disease by living a healthy lifestyle.
Because we have studied so much about cardiovascular disease, we know how best to prevent strokes and heart attacks. Healthy eating and exercising daily are at the top of the list. Just 30 minutes of daily exercise can work to decrease your risk immensely.
If you already live a healthy lifestyle, make sure that you are incorporating heart-healthy foods into your diet. Keep reading for a list of some of my favorite foods that help keep my heart strong and healthy.
LAUREN’S LIST OF HEART HEALTHY FOODS
Salmon: Like other fatty fish, salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats are excellent for lowering the risk of arrhythmia and atherosclerosis, which are irregular heart beat and plaque build-up in the arteries, respectively. They also help to lower the level of triglycerides. According to the American Heart Association, we should be eating fatty fish at least twice a week.
Oatmeal: My favorite breakfast, oatmeal, also happens to be amazing for your heart. Full of soluble fiber, oatmeal works as a sponge in our bloodstream to soak up cholesterol and eliminate it from our bodies. Make sure to stay away from pre-mixed packets or cups, as they are typically chockfull of sugar. I love to buy a big bag of organic oats and make some overnight oats for the week.
Blueberries: One of my favorite toppings to throw on my oatmeal, blueberries work to lower the risk of heart attack due to its composition of anthocyanins and flavonoids. Furthermore, they are great in helping to decrease blood pressure and dilate blood vessels.
Dark chocolate: Yep, you read that right. Dark chocolate is full of polyphenols, a flavonoid that helps reduce blood pressure, clotting and inflammation. Studies have also proven that dark chocolate can also reduce non fatal heart attacks and stroke in those that are considered high risk.
Tomatoes: For those of you who are pro-tomato, here’s some good news: tomatoes have lots of heart-healthy potassium and lycopene, which is an antioxidant that helps get rid of bad cholesterol, keeps blood vessels open and lowers risk of heart attack. I love chopping up a tomato and half of an avocado and mixing it together with some paleo ranch dressing. An easy, filling snack for any time of day.
Green tea: My favorite morning drink has more benefits than just waking me up. Matcha, my tea of choice, is full of antioxidants called catechins that help to lower risk of heart disease and stroke. My favorite way to get my matcha antioxidants in is with a matcha latte. Warm 1 cup milk and 1 teaspoon matcha powder with 1 tablespoon MCT oil and 2 tablespoons collagen peptides. Blend well and enjoy!
What are your favorite ways to get heart-healthy foods into your diet? Tag me @laurenandrew and @nutritionsmartofficial and let us know!
Until next time,