Heart Healthy Food Guide
The choices we make each day impact every aspect of our lives, particularly our health, both mental and physical. Here are some helpful hints to guide you in making good food choices with respect to having a healthy, happy heart:
Avocados ~ The monosaturated fat in avocados may help keep cholesterol under control. Use mashed avocados instead of the very unhealthy mayo, cream cheese or butter alternatives.
Cherries ~ Eating lots of cherries may lower C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood. High levels of CRP are due to inflammation in the body and is linked to increased risk of heart disease.
Vitamin D ~ People with a Vitamin D deficiency tend to develop coronary artery disease, heart failure, stroke and high blood pressure. Our bodies produce Vitamin D but for those who do not get at least 15 minutes of sunshine at least twice a week, make sure to get 200 international units (supplement) if you are younger than 50, or 400 IUs daily if you are over 50. Vitamin D is also found in salmon and some fortified foods.
Grapes ~ The resveratrol and other plant nutrients in red and purple grapes and grape juices offer the same heart-protecting benefits of red wine. Half a glass of red wine daily may decrease the risk of heart disease by 26%.
Kale ~ One of our favorite superfoods. Along with other cruciferous veggies such as broccoli and cabbage, kale contains antioxidants that help to cut the risk of heart disease.
Quinoa ~ This wonderful whole grain is a complete protein and contains a healthy amount of heart-protecting folate. The Institute of Medicine recommends 400 micrograms of folate daily, and a 1 cup serving of quinoa contains 83 micrograms. Use it in place of rice or pasta.
Tomato Sauce ~ The lycopene in tomato sauce reduces heart attack risk. Cooking raw, whole tomatoes actually increases the concentration of lycopene, which is also believed to help fight certain cancers.
Walnuts ~ Another favorite superfood. Everyone knows that nuts provide all-important heart-protecting monosaturated fats, but walnuts also contain a full day's worth of omega-3s. This superfood is also packed with vitamins E and A, calcium and protein. Walnuts may help keep blood vessels wide open, instead of constricting (as they do) after a high-fat meal.
In the end, and again, we remind you that a diet of mainly whole, natural fruits and veggies is the key to having optimal health and well being.