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The Top 8 Heart Healthy Foods
Our heart pumps blood throughout our bodies, supplying us with oxygen, nutrients, and removing carbon dioxide and waste. Keeping your heart healthy is really important. Having a healthy diet can help keep your heart healthy and ultimately reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
1. Fatty Fish like Salmon, Sardines,
Mackerel and Tuna
Fatty fish are amazing sources of omega-3s. Omega-3s are healthy fats found naturally in some food products like fish, they can help reduce your risk of developing heart disease by lowering inflammation in the body. Recommendation: eat 1-2 servings (3-4 oz.) fatty fish each week.
2. Flax, Hemp, Chia Seeds
Flax seeds, hemp seeds and chia seeds are all pretty incredible. Each of these seeds are great sources of protein, healthy fats (like omega-3s) and fibre. The combination of healthy fats (omega-3s) and fibre help promote heart health and reduce inflammation in the body. Uses: can serve on top of cereals, oatmeal, salads, yogurt, in baked goods, smoothies etc.
3. Almonds and Walnuts
A ¼ cup of nuts each day will help keep your heart healthy. They are a great source of healthy fats and protein, which also help you feel full throughout the day. Uses: can serve on top of cereals, oatmeal, salads, yogurt, in baked goods, or with a fruit as a snack.
4. Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens contain large amounts of fibre, vitamin C, potassium, calcium and other important nutrients and minerals. Uses: offer a s a side with your fatty fish, beans or lean meats, great addition to pasta, stews, sandwiches etc. Tip: aim to fill half your plate with dark leafy greens 3-4 times each week.
Berries are full of antioxidants and fibre, both of which are important to heart health and the prevention of chronic disease. Uses: can serve with cereals, oatmeal, use in smoothies, or as a snack with a side of nut butter, seeds, and or veggies. Tip: buy frozen veggies to reduce waste and for easy use in smoothies, cereal, oatmeal etc.
6. Legumes (Chickpeas, Lentils, Kidney Beans)
Legumes are a great source of fibre, complex carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants, and other important nutrients and minerals such as iron and potassium. They are a great plant based option that can be used as a substitute for meat. Uses: chili, stews, salads, bean burritos/tacos etc.
Avocados are nutrient dense, meaning they are packed with important vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, E, B-vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids, and potassium. They are also a natural source of plant sterols, which have been associated with maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Eating healthy fats like avocados can help support both heart and skin health. Uses: in salads, on toast, with eggs etc.
Oatmeal along with whole grains are great sources of complex carbohydrates and fibre. Complex carbohydrates help fuel your body for the day and fibre has many heart health benefits. Including some of these foods in your diet regularly can provide your body with important nutrients needed to boost heart health.
Angela Wallace is a Registered Dietitian, Personal Trainer, and Family Food Expert. She runs a private practice (Eat Right Feel Right) that offers various nutrition and exercise programs. In addition, she works as a health educator and project coordinator with the Guelph Family Health Study. www.eatrightfeelright.ca