In honor of February’s National Heart Month we have selected five foods that are recognized by the American Heart Association as being good for your heart:
Heart Healthy Foods
This delicious pink fish is full of Omega-3 fatty acids. According to the American Heart Association, omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats), which can lead to sudden death, and they also decrease triglyceride levels, slow growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque and can even lower blood pressure a little bit.
The health benefits of blueberries cannot be overstated. These little blue wonders have the following: beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); anthocyanin (a flavonoid); ellagic acid (a polyphenol); vitamin C; folate; calcium, magnesium; potassium; fiber. What this translates to is that “eating three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries per week may help women reduce their risk of a heart attack by as much as one-third,” researchers reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
3. Dark Chocolate
Just like love on Valentine’s Day, chocolate is everywhere and it’s good for you, so indulge! Flavonoids reservatrol and cocoa phenols in chocolate with 70% or higher cocoa content are good for the heart. Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association reported that “dark chocolate induces coronary vasodilation, improves coronary vascular function, and decreases platelet adhesion 2 hours after consumption.”
Sprinkle them on your oatmeal or grab a handful for a quick snack and you will be getting heart-healthy benefits when you eat almonds. These tree nuts have omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium, fiber and heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Almonds help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and are certified by the American Heart Association as a heart-healthy food.
5. Red bell peppers
Vegetables are good for all of you, not just your heart. Red bell peppers have beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids), B-complex vitamins, folate, potassium and fiber. Sautee some peppers as a side dish with some salmon tonight.
Visit the American Heart Association’s website for tips on grocery lists and meal planning for a heart-healthy diet.