5 HEART-HEALTHY FOODS TO ALWAYS HAVE IN YOUR KITCHEN

How you eat can affect your heart health, so be sure to always keep these foods on hand in the kitchen.

How you eat can affect your heart health, so be sure to always keep these foods on hand in the kitchen.


BY: LINDSEY JOE, RDN, LDN 

Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women? No matter how old you are and what physical condition you’re in – heart health is important in the present and for your future.

From your heart to your blood vessels, one of the best ways to reduce your risk of heart disease is through nutritious foods that can help support your cardiovascular system. Here are 5 heart-healthy foods for you to include in your weekly shopping list and meal planning goals.

1. Fish

Fish, especially fatty fish like salmon,  is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, an essential fatty acid. Why is it essential? Because our bodies do not make it naturally and must get it from the foods we eat. The recommendation for fish is twice a week.

If fish is not something you eat regularly, start small and  incorporate it a few times a month, and slowly work towards weekly then twice weekly. Fish is also a great source of protein and a tasty way to add more variety to your diet. You can simply replace meals you currently make with chicken or pork with fish.

2. Avocados

Avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, which are anti-inflammatory healthy fats that help increase our HDL levels (which we want to be high). Avocados are also high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Fiber is important for heart health because it also increases our HDL levels and lowers our LDL cholesterol levels.

Try adding avocado slices to a salad, or smash it over toast for a delicious breakfast.

3. Nuts

Walnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, and Brazil nuts are a great addition to your diet. Nuts are an excellent source of heart healthy polyunsaturated fats, Vitamin E, and other essential vitamin and minerals.

Pack a handful of your favorite nuts for your mid-day snack, or make your own DIY nut milk to drink alone or blend in your smoothie.

4. Legumes

Legumes – such as lentils, black beans, chickpeas, peas and other beans – are super nutrient dense and great sources of protein, iron, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Due to their high protein content, beans and legumes are a great way to add variety to your diet if you’re trying to enjoy more plant-based meals in your life.

Simply replace the meat in your tacos with beans, whip up some homemade hummus from chickpeas, or throw some black beans or lentils in a crockpot with your favorite chili recipe.

5. Berries

Berries are a delicious addition to your diet for a heart-healthy lifestyle. Full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, these small fruits are nutrition powerhouses that are packed with many healthful benefits.

Fresh berries are a great way to add flavor and variety to  your salads or yogurt parfaits. Don’t forget to keep unsweetened frozen berries in your freezer to eat anytime of the year, or throw them into a smoothie!

Here’s to eating your way to a happier, healthier heart!

Adapted from the original article.

Lindsey Joe, RDN, LDN is a Nashville-based Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Lifestyle Coach specializing in corporate wellness. Lindsey is passionate about helping people ignite the healthy that makes them happy, follow all her fuss-free food adventures at @themealplanningmethod or make a visit to The Meal Planning Method.

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