February is American Heart Month, which is a great reminder that we all need to focus on making healthier choices for our heart. Cardiovascular disease impacts 1 in 3 adults and is the number one cause of death in the U.S. The good news is that minor dietary changes can have a huge impact on your heart health.
According to Nutrition Expert Kim Denkhaus, the 5 foods below will have a lasting impact on your overall health, and your heart in particular. So do your heart a favor and incorporate these foods into your diet on a regular basis.
Pomegranates, Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Cranberries, Cherries.
Berries contain some of the highest antioxidant levels, packing a powerful punch of benefits for the cardiovascular system. Berries are comprised of heart-promoting polyphenols and anthocyanins, which act as free radical scavengers to fend off hardening arteries.
Beets are an excellent source of vitamin A and K, folate, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. They are also naturally high in dietary nitrates, which have been linked to improved blood flow. Better blood flow improves nutrient absorption, toxin elimination, immunity and the functioning of your heart, liver and kidneys.
Need an idea on how to incorporate beets into your diet? Click here for a recipe idea.
Salmon can decrease triglycerides levels, lower blood pressure, and reduce the buildup of atherosclerotic plaque. It’s also linked to accelerated brain function, eye health, and can improve dry skin and hair.
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish, especially fatty fish low in mercury content like salmon, at least 2 times per week.
Pecan, Hazel Nut, Cashew, Almond, Walnuts
Studies suggest that people who consume nuts daily are leaner than people who don’t! Nuts are a nutrient rich, cardio-protective food that contain heart healthy nutrients such as unsaturated fats, fiber, vitamin E, potassium, and phytosterols.
Regular consumption of nuts may lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, help with weight management, and moderate swings in blood sugar. Nuts are a great source of protein, contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and are loaded with dietary fiber.
Sunflower, Pumpkin, Chia, Hemp
Seeds are high in soluble fiber, which is an important component for regular digestive health. A diet high in fiber helps naturally lower cholesterol, stabilize blood sugar levels, and can make you feel full longer (so you’re less likely to snack).
Many seeds are high in alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid that helps lower the risk of heart disease. Seeds are also loaded with powerful vitamins and minerals which help boost the immune system.