There are many foods that can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease and not break your food budget. They can be added to almost any meal or have as a snack every day of the week. Adding these foods to your regular nutrition plan today will make for a healthier heart tomorrow.
1) Oatmeal. I am not talking about the instant oatmeal that has all of the sugar and flavors added in like Brown Sugar and Maple or Cinnamon Apple. I am referring the basic oats that has a lot of soluble fiber, the kind that your great-grandmother or grandfather possibly grew up eating. No, you don’t have to eat an entire bowl full and no, you should not add your sugar or sugar substitute. Soluble fiber is responsible for deceasing total and “bad” cholesterol, making it heart healthy.
2) Berries. Blue, Black, Straw, Rasp are all great at lowering inflammation. Add them to your oatmeal, cereal, pancakes, yogurt or just have them as a snack.
3) Nuts. This is not the honey roasted or party peanuts. While those nuts do have the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that are good for you they tend to be higher in sodium. Go for the more “good fat” (yes, I said it) dense nuts like walnuts, almonds and macadamia.
4) Legumes. When I first heard this term I had no idea what this food was. It refers mostly to beans and lentils. Some of the best for you are black beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas and red or brown lentils. Each of these examples is loaded with nutrients that can help control your weight and lower cholesterol. Add them to stews, soups and salads as much as possible.
5) Broccoli. Like your mother and father might have told you growing up – eat your vegetables, especially the green leafy ones like spinach and kale. They have anti-inflammatory effects that protect your heart.
6) Salmon. If you have not heard this already, eat fish, especially oily fish high in omega-3 fatty acids.
7) Extra-virgin olive oil. This one I have just started myself. It took me awhile to make this change mostly because of the price difference between this and Canola oil. After making the switch not only do I know that I am being more heart healthy I like the different options that this oil provides and I think it tastes better. Again, it goes back to the monounsaturated fats lowering LDL cholesterol thus contributing to a reduced risk of heart disease.
Make the most of the day you are given.