February is Heart Awareness Month

heart-health month veggies-

This month is Heart Awareness Month and a great time to talk about keeping your heart healthy through diet and lifestyle.  With Cardiovascular disease, heart disease and stroke being the leading cause of death in the United States according to the U.S Department of Health & Human Services, we want to be sure you know your best defense to protect your heart.  Unfortunately we have over 2,000 Americans each day that die from cardiovascular disease.  In an effort to begin reducing these numbers we want to discuss disease prevention so that we can together keep our families as healthy as can be.

We want to start by going over some super great foods that are GREAT for a healthy heart.  These are all foods that you want to begin incorporating into your heart-healthy diet right away, if you are not already.  If you are already eating these let this be another reminder of why they are so important to have in your diet and why you should continue to eat them regularly.  We may not be able to change what has already occurred, but we surely work towards preventing this deadly disease through diet and lifestyle.

Avocados

Avocados are loaded with heart-healthy fats that allow for the absorption of carotenoids. They have the powerful ability to lower bad cholesterol levels providing 3 grams of monounsaturated fat and 0.5 polyunsaturated grams fat per 1-oz. serving. Avocados remain as the only fruit that contains monounsaturated fat which aids in lowering LDL levels while raising HDL cholesterol levels. Avocados are both sodium and cholesterol free making them a great addition to any heart healthy diet.

Berries

Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are wonderful  for vascular health.  They are loaded with anti-inflammatories that reduce both heart disease and cancer risks.

Broccoli

Broccoli has great levels of vitamin C, as well as dietary fiber and contains many nutrients with strong anti-cancer properties. It is rich in lutein and beta-carotene. Broccoli also contains a compound sulforaphane that has been known to increases enzymes to protect heart blood vessels while reducing molecules that damage them.

Fish

Fatty fish such as salmon, halibut, and Tuna are great additions to a heart healthy diet.  These fatty fish have  high levels of omega-3 fatty acids which are known to reduce blood pressure and the risk of developing blood clots.

Flaxseed

Flaxseed is another great heart healthy food as it has the ability to improve cardiovascular health. It has great levels of fiber, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It contains both soluble and insoluble fiber and healthy lignans, which are rich in antioxidants. Numerous studies have shown flaxseed reducing risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. We love adding ground flaxseed to just about anything and it is a simple way to enrich your diet with a simple sprinkle.

Legumes

Black beans, kidney beans, lentils and  chickpeas are all loaded with soluble fiber, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids which help in lowering both blood pressure, cholesterol, as  well as lose weight.

Nuts

Almonds, macadamia, and walnuts are all great sources of healthy fats. Research has shown that eating nuts can lower the bad LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels in the blood, which also reduces the risk of blood clots.  Nuts can also improve the health of the lining of your arteries. Most nuts contain heart-healthy substances including omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, fiber, unsaturated fats, L-arginine, and plant sterols.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a fiber-rich superfood packed with omega -3 fatty acids, potassium, and folate. It  is great for your arteries and also lowers LDL cholesterol levels. Steel-cut oatmeal is the healthiest and best for you as it contains more nutrients and fiber then the instant type that has been processed and stripped. Oatmeal contains soluble fiber which reduces the absorption of cholesterol in your bloodstream and reduce LDL.

Spinach

Spinach is great for cardiovascular heath as well as cancer prevention and eye health. It contains super levels of beta-carotene, and vitamin C, which work together preventing oxidized cholesterol build up in the blood vessel walls. Folate is also very important to heart health as it works together with B6 and betaine, lowering levels of dangerous homocysteine an amino acids. The potassium and magnesium in spinach also make significant contributions to heart health and both work by lowering blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Tips for a Healthy Heart

Control your blood pressure
Manage your Cholesterol
Quit Smoking
Eat Heart Healthy Foods
Healthy Weight ControlHealthy Activity

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