Our food choices are vital to our hearts’ health. Structuring your diet with foods high in trans-fat, saturated fat, sodium, and sugar can increase heart disease risk factors. I admit it does sound gloomy, but there is a silver lining!
You can improve and maintain the health of your heart! Wait, there’s more! Heart health can be improved by eating regular foods that we see at the grocery store every day. That’s right! And we came prepared to share some of these healthy heart food options with you!
This food selection is my favourite on this list! No more guilty pleasure! Now you have an excuse to eat chocolate a few times per week, in moderation, of course. Dark chocolates can boost the health of the heart because of its richness in antioxidants. However, we do advise you to exercise caution in your chocolate intake. The sugar and calorie levels found in chocolates may be a deterrent when opting to consume for your heart’s benefit. Again, all is not lost! Ensure that you select high-quality chocolates when choosing chocolates containing a minimum of 70% cocoa. To reap the benefits of the cocoa for your heart, remember to consume with moderation.
Berries are one of my favourite fruits! I love a smoothie filled with berries or warm blueberry muffins, or pancakes. And I know it’s not just me. Have you ever noticed that anything good for you usually tastes pretty darn disgusting?? *Ugh* Well, not berries!! They are tasty, and they are great for heart health because of the nutrients and antioxidants. Daily consumption of berries helps maintain low cholesterol levels and aid in functions that monitor blood clotting and blood pressure.
A rich source of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins is found in dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, broccoli, bok choy and etcetera. Patients who had a heart disease history showed significant improvements after changing their diets to include green leafy vegetables primarily. The progress of the function of cells lining the blood vessels and the promotion of correct blood clotting are benefits received from the regular consumption of dark green leafy vegetables.
Avocados are another tasty food option that should be consumed to maintain and improve heart health. Honestly, it is one of my absolute favourites! In some regions of the Caribbean, namely Jamaica, this fruit is known as pear and is not consumed as a fruit, more like an accompaniment or side to your mains. While some researchers may consider monounsaturated fats, which are found in avocados, to be unhealthy, moderate intake of this type of fat instead of saturated and trans fats is beneficial to one’s health. Also, avocados are an excellent potassium source, which is a vital nutrient that contributes to heart health.
Seafood high in fats:
Omega-3 has provided significant benefits to heart health; omega-3 is mainly found in fish high in fats such as sardines, mackerel, salmon and tuna. Individuals who consume seafood, particularly salmon, regularly will most likely see a decrease in their diastolic blood pressure.
Also, the constant consumption of fish over a lengthy period has proven to regulate blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Now we know everyone is not fans of fish *even though we can’t fathom why* you can still access the benefits that consuming fish provides by consuming fish oil. While it may not be as appealing as fish, it is an ideal option for substituting fish if you intend to receive your required allotment of omega-3 supplements.
Nuts and seeds:
The majority of people in the world love nuts! We consume nuts as snacks and as accompaniments or toppings on our ice-cream, sundae, or other desserts. The visuals alone are so tempting! But many of us are unaware that raw nuts and seeds are excellent and essential to heart health. Nuts and seeds are excellent sources of nutrients, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Regular intake can lower cholesterol, diastolic blood pressure and help to protect from heart disease.
While we chose to highlight some of our favourite foods that promote heart health, there are many other options out there that you can research and consume! Education on improving heart health is essential, but it’s useless if we don’t enforce it and put it into practice. Let’s all vow to eat healthier and take great care of our hearts. After all, that’s where all the love comes from, right??
Until next time!