10 Heart Healthy Foods
Chest pain. Shortness of breath. Pain in the neck or jaw. Numbness in the legs. Weakness in the arms. All symptoms of heart disease.
But let’s hope it never gets to that point.
February is American Heart Month. This month, let’s take steps to strengthen our hearts and prevent heart attacks and strokes by introducing these 10 heart healthy foods into our regular routines.
- Leafy greens: These vegetables seem to be at the top of every healthy foods list. Spinach, kale, salad greens—they’re rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium. Minerals that help regulate your blood pressure.
- Beets: Not only the solid vegetable beet, but also beet juice can significantly lower systolic blood pressure. (Systolic is the top number in a blood pressure reading.)
- Avocados: An avocado a day could keep the blood pressure meds away. So says a study from the Journal of the American Heart Association.
- Fruits: Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, grapes, and prunes are all heart-healthy foods you need to introduce consistently into your diet.
- Nuts and seeds: Unsalted pistachios, walnuts, pecans, almonds, flaxseed, and hazelnuts are all high in those blood-pressure regulating minerals potassium and magnesium. But beware of serving sizes as a single serving is actually better for you than a double serving.
- Salmon and other fatty fish: Albacore tuna, mackerel, herring, lake trout, and sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Long-chain omega-3s help the heart keep its rhythm. And they’ve been shown to prevent heart attacks.
- Low-fat dairy: Not all dairy products are created equal. Low-fat yogurt might be the best out there as it can lower your risk of developing high blood pressure.
- Oats and barley: You know the heart-healthy benefits of oatmeal are enormous. Barley, just like oatmeal, contains beta-glucan, which reduces cholesterol.
- Legumes: Kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, and lima beans. These high-soluble fiber foods act like a sponge in your body by soaking up extra cholesterol and disposing it like waste. Just make sure to rinse canned beans before eating to minimize the amount of added salt.
- Eggs: Although eggs contain cholesterol, an egg each day can still be heart healthy for most people. Just limit the non-heart healthy options that go along with it—like salt, butter, or bacon.
For a detailed list of heart health foods, along with foods to limit, visit the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website.