5 Heart Healthy Foods to Start Eating More Of
Here’s a health fact that will get your attention: Heart disease has remained the #1 killer of adults in the US for 80 years. The condition takes over 600,000 lives every year – that’s 1 in 4 American adults! And this is despite the fact that doctors are writing tens of millions of prescriptions every year to protect people from heart attacks and strokes.
It’s not that more and more people are being born with bad tickers, it comes down to unhealthy lifestyle factors, starting with a poor diet.
The best advice? Eliminate artery-clogging fats and unhealthy levels of salt and sugar that are known factors in heart disease and replace them with foods your heart will love.
The best part is, these five heart-friendly foods are tasty and satisfying:
1.Oatmeal: With 4 grams of cholesterol-lowering fiber plus heart-healthy omega-3 fats, folate, and potassium, a bowl of warm oatmeal is the perfect way to start your day. Add a banana or fresh berries to delight your palate and increase your fiber intake even more.
2. Olive Oil:Throw out the processed salad dressings and switch to virgin or extra-virgin olive oil. With healthy monounsaturated fats, olive oil helps to control LDL cholesterol levels and lowers your risk for heart disease. Try substituting olive oil for butter when you sautée your veggies or drizzle on toasted French bread for even more heart-healthy benefits.
3. Colorful Berries: Blackberries and blueberries are especially good for strengthening arteries, but all types of berries benefit your heart. They are loaded with disease fighting antioxidants and phytonutrients along with fiber to keep cholesterol levels in check.
4. Legumes: Legumes like chick peas, lentils and beans are actually edible seeds are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and are rich in soluble fiber. Want to cut down on saturated fat from meat products? Eat more legumes and your hunger will be satisfied with healthy plant protein.
5. Nuts: Satisfy your need for crunch with a handful of tasty nuts. Walnuts are an especially good source of omega-3 fats and along with almonds and macadamias provide heart-protecting monounsaturated fats and lots of beneficial fiber.
Here’s something else you’ll love about switching to a healthy diet. You’ll be much more likely to keep your weight in the normal range and reduce your risks for type 2 diabetes, factors the American Heart Association says contribute to heart disease.
One more thing. You’ll cut your heart attack risk even more by staying active. Whether it’s doing yard work, walking the dog or going to the gym, physical activity strengthens your heart, lowers your blood pressure and helps to manage stress.