Heart Healthy Foods
The heart’s not just for loving. The ol’ ticker also keeps a body going, day-in and day-out. Messing with it can have dire effects. Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide.
The World Health Organization says that one of the major behavioral risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (and that includes all the heart aliments) is an unhealthy diet. One effect of an unhealthy diet is high blood pressure; another being overweight. We should probably work harder to keep it healthier and happier and especially to follow a diet that’s good for our heart.
It’s not just going for a 5 k run or long swims in the pool a couple times a week. It also means giving it what it asks for, what treats it well, what caters to its every whim. Something that acts like the perfect partner.
So what is good for my heart and what is bad?
Here are some tips on how to be your heart’s lifelong love, its knight in shining armor, everything it could ever want in a person. Let’s get your heart what your heart craves.
Processed food, bad. Fresh leafy greens, good. Vibrant colored fruits and veggies, extra good. The WHO explicitly says “eat your fruits and vegetables!” and we’re totally here for it. Those leafy greens are bursting with vitamin K and vitamin K been shown to protect your arteries and encourage proper blood clotting.
Salt, bad. Herbs, good. Use fresh when you can or really rummage through your spice drawer to liven things up. Keep a wide selection at home and get creative!
Fatty meats, bad. Go vegan for some protein: beans, good; tofu, good. (We’ve got a yummy scrambled tofu vegan wrap you should check out.) Being an omnivore can be healthy, but you’re not a T-Rex, no need to go overboard.
Salmon, good. Salmon, real good. They are the bearers of the duly famous omega-3s that lower blood pressure and inflammation. Tuna, less expensive than its famous cousin, and especially albacore tuna, also has omega-3. Two servings of an oily fish like tuna or salmon a week is recommended for your heart. (We’ve got it fresh, we’ve got it frozen.)
Saturated fats, bad. Olive oil, good. Since they’re just awash with antioxidants, all signs point to them protecting your blood vessels. Use it on salads, bread, as a cooking oil. Use it morning, noon, and night.
Walnuts, good. Processed snacks, less good. Walnuts also bring omega-3s to the table. They’re also jampacked with fiber. Pop a few when you’re feeling famished and dinner is still a ways to go. We’ve got the uber good variety at our organic food store.
Almonds, good. Junk food, avoid it like the plague. A handful of almonds a day keeps the heart doctor away. Slice ‘em and add ‘em to chicken dishes, salads, fish, or cooked vegetables. Really make your MD proud and take some almonds with you on a nice long hike to snack on along the way.
Love your heart and it’ll love you back.