Earlier this month we gave you some tips to keep a healthy heart. As we continue National Heart Health Month, we are going to look into 5 super-foods that are known to promote a healthy heart that you can easily introduce to your diet today.
Blueberries contain good amounts of fiber, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K. They have the highest antioxidant levels of all common fruits and vegetables which puts them at the top of the list as one of the best disease-fighting foods. The health benefits of blueberries are mainly due to their anthocyanidins. Anthocyanidins are powerful antioxidants found in red/purple fruits and vegetables.
This ocean-going fish is a top choice because it’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are two of the 3 fatty acids that are essential to heart health. Your body cannot create omega-3 fatty acids which means you must get them from your diet or supplements. Aim for at least two servings of oily fish such as salmon and other cold-water fatty fish, such as mackerel, tuna and herring each week, says the American Heart Association.
3. Flax Seeds
As we mentioned earlier, omega-3 fats can only be introduced through your diet. If you are a vegetarian or don’t eat fish, flax seeds can be your best source of omega-3 fats. Unlike salmon, flax seeds are a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a mostly plant-based omega-3 fatty acid. Though tiny, they are rich in fiber, protein, folate, and potassium which have been shown to have many potential health benefits.
Commonly eaten around the world, legumes are affordable, rich in protein, and are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates. They are relatively low in the amount of calories and have virtually no saturated fat. This can make you feel fuller longer which can help prevent you from snacking in-between meals. Nearly all legumes provide protein, fiber, B vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium and potassium. These nutrients are essential when it comes to cardiovascular health.
Many important nutrients that benefit cardiovascular health can be found in this leafy powerhouse of the vegetable kingdom. These nutrients include calcium, protein, iron, magnesium, potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and Vitamin B which contains folate. Folate is an important contributor to heart health as it is needed for the proper development of the human body. Due to its high amount of potassium, spinach helps lower blood pressure, promotes digestive regularity. Spinach can be added as an ingredient to many dishes or you can enjoy it raw.
As we near the end of February, it is important to remember to take care of your heart. There are many other super foods and resources out there, and we encourage you to learn more about how you can promote cardiovascular health. Happy National Heart Health Month!