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Heart Healthy Foods: A Love Affair

Posted Feb 13 2012 12:50pm

Cupid, pull back your bow, and let your arrow flow, straight to my lover’s heart for me”…

So here we are a mere day away from Valentine’s Day and surely love is on your mind and in your heart and well, let’s be honest it is all around us! And in honor of this special day, I believe a post about love would be appropriate. More specifically a post about the love affair between a healthy heart and the foods we eat.

We all know that there is a direct relationship between keeping our body fit and healthy and the foods we eat, but we can be even more specific and keep our heart beating longer by eating these top heart healthy foods.

Yogurt

We all know eating pro-biotic rich yogurt is good for our tummies, but it is also good for keeping our gums healthy, which in turn can prevent a person’s risk for heart disease.

Raisins

Like yogurt, raisins have a powerful effect on our hearts. The antioxidants found in these dried fruits help to fight gum disease and in turn protect your heart.

Asparagus

Low in calories and super tasty to boot, asparagus is easy to make and contains lots of heart healthy anti-inflammatory nutrients.

Broccoli

Broccoli is packed with B vitamins and folic acid, which has been shown to help relieve stress, anxiety, panic, and even depression. All great things for a healthy heart!

Leafy Greens

Whatever you prefer, whether it is spinach, kale, spring mix, dandelion greens, or turnip tops– to just name a few– they are all super foods that provide tons of iron, vitamins A + C and magnesium. And of course, heart healthy.

Lean Beef

For those of you who are meat eaters, lean beef has lots of heart benefits. Eating lean beef can be a stress buster that can help keep us full, calm and happy.

Sweet Potatoes

Oh so yummy, sweet potatoes contain super antioxidants that help to shield our hearts by lowering blood pressure and maintaining healthy heart functioning.

Whole Grains

One fact is true: people who eat whole grains tend to be a lot leaner than those non-grain eaters. Here’s the other “skinny” on whole grains: they contain antioxidants, phytoestrogens and phytosterols that are protective against coronary disease. Mix in the soluble fiber part, and whole grains are great at lowering cholesterol levels too.

Beans

Just a small amount (1/2 cup) will give your heart huge benefits. Full of heart protecting chemicals and lots of soluble fiber, beans will help lower cholesterol levels.

Salmon & Fish

Go Fish!   Salmon, tuna and those of the “oily” variety—contain omega-3 fats, which will lower levels of triglycerides in the blood.

Nuts

Nut lovers know what is right!  Chockfull of minerals, vitamins and healthy fats, nuts have been proven to help people have a lower incidence of heart disease.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a great source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants; and research shows that eating and cooking this juicy fruit can help prevent cardiovascular disease.

Apples

It seems that the old adage “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.” is actually true. Rich in antioxidants and pectin, apples of all kind really are do keep our tickers healthy and tip top shape.

Berries

Succulent and sweet, berries give us lots of bang for our buck. Not only do they lower our blood pressure but they help to increase our “good” levels of HDL cholesterol.

Pomegranates

These juicy delectable fruits are loaded with tons of antioxidants. Most current research shows that they reduce plaque build-up in our arteries and help to lower blood pressure.

Bananas

We all know bananas are loaded with potassium and this powerful mineral helps maintain normal heart function and keeps a healthy balance of sodium and water in our bodies.

Popcorn

Yes, this is correct! Popcorn delivers poly-phenols, which is an antioxidants linked to improving heart health. And the bonus, it is a whole grain, which also helps to lower the risk of heart disease.

Green Tea

Research shows that green tea drinkers substantially reduce their risk of heart attacks and helps to keep inflammation at bay.

Red Wine

In moderation, wine protects the heart by helping to reduce inflammation and raising “good” HDL cholesterol.

Chocolate

Oh sweet! Dark chocolate (70%) is rich in flavonol, which  can benefit cardiovascular health, and may also boost the immune system by reducing inflammation. And let’s not forget,  a small amount of dark chocolate can help reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Win-Win!

Here’s to a happy and heart healthy Valentine’s Day!

xoxo Jenn

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