Eat Your Way To A Healthy Heart
In a nod to Heart Health Awareness this month, it’s a great time to refocus on the importance of maintaining a healthy heart by simply making smart choices in what to eat. A well-balanced and heart-friendly diet significantly reduces your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, being overweight, smoking, family history, and lack of exercise all contribute to heart disease and stroke. Therefore, it’s all the more important to incorporate nutrient-rich foods into your diet like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. By simply making small and sustainable changes to your eating habits you can keep your heart strong and healthy.
Here are the top vitamins and nutrients that contribute to a healthy heart for the longterm.
Heart Healthy Nutrients
Vitamin D (Yes, again!)
Research shows that Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Since Vitamin D is very difficult to get from food, most people require supplementation to achieve optimal levels. We recommend checking your blood levels twice a year to make sure you are not deficient.
Two main omega-3 fatty acids called EPA & DHA help fight inflammation and protect against stroke. Omega 3’s have also shown to improve heart health if you already have heart disease. Aim to eat fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and herring 2-3 times per week.
Consuming a diet rich in magnesium supports healthy blood pressure, which is a leading risk factor for heart disease. Since more than 70% of Americans are deficient in magnesium, try to incorporate foods like pumpkin seeds, beans, almonds, edamame, dark chocolate, spinach, and quinoa into your diet.
Polyphenols have an important involvement in preventing cardiovascular disease, mainly because they minimize plaque buildup in arteries and help prevent blood clots. Great sources include green tea, olive oil, berries, broccoli, and herbs.
Soluble fiber helps support healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels, both of which are significant risk factors for heart disease. Women should aim for about 25 grams of fiber per day and men should consume 38 grams. High soluble fiber foods include oats, beans, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, lentils, and apples.
Be sure to check back each week this month for heart healthy tips, recipes and suggestions from Ahara’s dietician and nutrition team!
Heart Healthy Recipes for this Week
Try these heart healthy recipes below and be sure to use the EAT tab on the Ahara app to access even more nutrient dense recipes.