5 Food Sources For A Happy Heart
Keep your heart healthy & happy by adding these foods to your plate!
Heart Disease continues to be one of the leading causes of death among Americans in today's world. Coronary Artery Disease is one of the common types of heart disease caused by cholesterol deposits or plaques formed in arteries that can lead to heart attacks. Risk factors can include having high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, sedentary lifestyle, and a diet that lacks balance and nutrient dense foods. Thankfully, there are many ways to reduce the risk of heart disease and even manage heart disease through nutrition and lifestyle changes. Check out some awesome food sources below that you can incorporate in a balanced diet to keep your heart healthy and happy!
Walnuts have been linked to reducing the risk of major risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. Walnuts are also the only tree nut that are a great plant-based source of omega-3 fats which may help increase "good" HDL cholesterol and lower the "bad" LDL cholesterol. A serving (1 oz) of walnuts can be enjoyed as a quick midday snack. Chopped walnuts can also be a perfect crunchy topping for salads and breakfast oats. One of my favorite ways to enjoy this healthy fat is in my No Bake Strawberry Granola!
Artichokes can be an excellent source of fiber and nutrients like potassium which can help regulate blood pressure. Just 1 medium artichoke can provide 7 grams of fiber which is ~1/3 of your daily fiber needs. Consuming adequate amounts of fiber daily has been associated with reducing the risk of stroke, hypertension, and coronary heart disease. Artichokes can be baked, steamed, or boiled and tossed into salsa, dips like hummus, pasta dishes, and more.
As mentioned earlier, omega-3 fats are great for reducing heart disease risk factors like lowering cholesterol. Salmon is a an excellent marine source of omega-3 fatty acids providing 2,260 mg in a 3.5 oz serving. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish, specifically fatty fish like salmon at least 2 times a week. I love to bake seasoned salmon with a frozen veggie mix for a last-minute sheet pan dinner for busy week nights. You can also shred leftover salmon with a fork to toss into salads or enjoy as a topping on crackers for a snack.
Incorporating a dose of plant proteins in your diet through the week has been associated with lower risk of developing heart disease and reducing inflammation. Edamame provides 17 grams of soy protein and 8 grams of fiber in just 1 cup. Along with salmon and walnuts, edamame can also add a boost of omega 3 fatty acids to your day. You can purchase edamame fresh or frozen to add into several recipes. For a simple snack, you can just squeeze steamed or boiled edamame beans out of the pod into your mouth. The beans can be tossed into fresh salads, soups, nourish bowls, stir fry's, and more. Edamame can also taste great when roasted with seasonings!
Oats can be a great whole grain choice to include in your diet since they are loaded with a type of fiber called soluble fiber. Beta-glucan is a type of soluble fiber found in oats that has been linked to having cholesterol-lowering effects. Oats can be a versatile pantry staple that can be enjoyed in may ways. Check out some of my favorite quick and easy ways to incorporate oats:
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