5 Heart-Healthy Foods
Jan 27th, 2017
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, now is the perfect time to start thinking about your heart’s health! Heart disease is one of the most widespread and costly health problems in the United States and luckily, also one of the most preventable! So, before you embark on a romantic V-Day getaway or make your candle-lite dinner reservations, consider these five foods to make your heart healthy and happy.
Cruciferous Veggies (AKA Cabbage Family)
Simply adding veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, watercress and cabbage can help promote heart health, overall longevity and have even been associated with a 16% reduction in cardiovascular disease! Give this Brussels Sprouts with Pecans & Shallots recipe a try for a simple, delicious and heart-conscious side dish this Valentine’s Day. In a hurry? We also recommend looking at your local Albertsons for bags of washed and ready-to-toss kale and cabbage salads for lunches and ready-to-microwave Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower florets for quick week night veggies.
Dark Chocolate & Cocoa
Luckily, you won’t have to skimp on the sweets this Valentine’s Day! Adding .33 ounces of dark chocolate or 1.5 tablespoons of cocoa powder to your diet 3 to 4 times a week has been associated with lowering risk of heart attack. Opt for dark chocolate instead of milk or white for a sweet treat loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that help to improve blood pressure, blood lipids and overall vascular health. Try this Heart Smart Designer Hot Cocoa recipe for a V-Day dessert that is both heavenly and heart-healthy! And if you’re like us and thinking “this must be too good to be true,” remember the use of cacao as a health benefit dates back at least 3,000 years!
Regular consumption (2 or more times a week) of fatty fish, like salmon, is associated with a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular death. When you include Omega-3 rich foods, you add important antioxidants, promote anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting actions, all while promoting overall heart and vascular health. Whenever possible, add albacore tuna (from the can or pouch) to sandwiches, salads or casseroles. For your Valentine’s Day entrée, try this Fast Italian-Style Fish & Even Faster Lemon Sauce!
This Valentine’s Day, treat your loved one (or yourself) to breakfast in bed! This Overnight Oatmeal Pancake recipe is not only swoon-worthy, but also totally heart-smart! Oats have known benefits in the prevention of heart disease, improvement in blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Old-fashioned oats can be used in a variety of recipes, like overnight oats, oatmeal, as a binder in meatloaf, or as a coating on fish or chicken. Keep a container of oats on hand so you can throw this heart-healthy helper in throughout the week!
According to a recent clinical trial, consuming mixed nuts (about an ounce per day) lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease by 30%! Those are huge results for such a small snack! With heart-healthy fats, plant compounds, fiber, protein, vitamins, the list goes on, it’s no wonder nuts pack such a powerful punch! Sprinkle nuts on your oatmeal, yogurt and salads, leaving the skin on for maximum antioxidant activity! For snacking, try this Spicy Nut Mix!
Adding these simple foods to your Valentine’s Day (and everyday!) menu, along with regular physical exercise, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy body weight, may help prevent cardiovascular disease.
Find more delicious recipes on our Pinterest page!