Ladies, the statistics show that heart disease is the number one killer of women in the U.S. Since February is heart health month, we are going to talk about foods that are good for you and more specifically your heart. We all want to eat better and healthier without having to give up food that tastes good. The good news is that the foods that are good for your heart are also delicious for your taste buds.
Starting your meal off with a simple glass of red wine is one way to keep your heart healthy. Red wine improves your “good” HDL cholesterol levels and it is filled with flavonoids which increase antioxidant activity in the body. If you are looking for a flavorful red wine check out these top 5 inexpensive red wines. Limit yourself to one or two glasses at dinner for a healthy heart.
Certain types of fish are good for your heart because they are filled with omega-3 fatty acids, folate (vitamin B-12), and niacin (vitamin B-3). Tuna has all of these goodies and it is a fish that can dress up salad greens or a bed of brown rice when seasoned with herbs and spices. Omega-3 fatty acids help boost the immune system, protect against heart attacks and raise “good” cholesterol levels while lowering triglycerides or “bad” cholesterol levels. Salmon is another good fish choice to get the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins b-3 and b-12 into your diet.
Nuts are another great way to protect your heart with food. Walnuts and almonds are especially good for the heart because they contain fiber, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and other heart healthy goodness like antioxidants which help fight against coronary heart disease but also cancer and altitude sickness. Walnuts and almonds can be eaten by themselves for heart benefits or they can easily dress up salads, cookies, and yogurt giving your those foods a nice crunch. Almonds dress up green beans nicely too, just saute with a little bit of butter and garlic for a heart healthy side dish.
Veggies are always good for you but some are extremely good for heart healthy diet. Broccoli, asparagus, red bell peppers, sweet potatoes, spinach and carrots are in high on the list of vegetables that can help prevent against heart disease. They are filled with things like B-complex vitamins, fiber, folate, beta-carotene, lutein, potassium, calcium, and vitamins A,C, and E.
Try spicing up your lunch by having a salad of fresh baby spinach leaves, chopped walnuts or almonds, and slices of red bell peppers. Dress it up with a spritz of lemon juice and olive oil. Not only is it heart healthy for lunch but it tastes so good you’ll want to make more. Or you could try adding sweet potato fries to your dinner menu instead of regular fries. Peel sweet potatoes, layer on a greased baking sheet, season with salt, pepper and/or Mrs. Dash and bake until crispy. Your kids will like them too!
We can’t forget to mention that fruits are good for heart health also. Blueberries are rich in calcium, beta-carotene, vitamin-C and lutein but if blueberries are not one of your favorite fruits you could always eat strawberries, raspberries or cranberries instead. Or you could mix them all up for a heart healthy trail mix! Other fruits that can help prevent heart disease include papaya, cantaloupe, and oranges.
Don’t forget to indulge every now and then to keep your heart healthy. That’s right ladies, according to WebMD, “a truffle a day lowers blood pressure” but they highly recommend that when you indulge in chocolate you should make it a dark chocolate with a 70% or higher cocoa content.
Here’s to your heart and the delicious way to keep it healthy!