February is heart health month, a great time to get some heart-healthy habits started to keep your ticker happy and healthy for years to come.
Perhaps one of the simplest ways to keep your heart healthy is with the food you eat. Keeping stress levels down and exercising regularly are also important. But when it comes to choosing what to eat, it can be hard to know what’s good for your heart. Here are 10 foods that are great for your heart.
Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and trout are good for your heart. Have fish once a week for dinner or eat tuna as a healthy snack.
Berries aren’t just a delicious snack, they’re also full of heart-healthy phytonutrients and soluble fiber. Sprinkle blueberries, strawberries, cranberries or raspberries in yogurt, make a smoothie or juice drink, or just grab a handful as a snack.
Red, yellow and orange vegetables don’t just add color to your plate, they’re also full of carotenoids, fiber and vitamins. Munch on carrots or shred and add to the top of your meals. Sweet potatoes are a great side dish and red and yellow bell peppers are yummy snacks. Add them to your salad for additional crunch and sweetness.
A Glass of the Good Stuff
Red wine can help you unwind and improve your cholesterol levels. But don’t overindulge, the benefits of red wine are best when you keep it to one glass a day.
Dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa is good for your heart, so make sure to have dessert!
Fresh fruit is a healthy snack and oranges, cantaloupes and papaya are packed with potassium, magnesium and beta-carotene. However, limit canned fruit and fruit cups that are covered in heavy syrup.
When you grab sandwich bread, pass on white flour and go for whole grain. Whole grains are a good source of fiber and other nutrients that are good for blood pressure and heart health. Look for 100% whole-wheat or 100% whole-grain bread. Oatmeal and whole-grain pasta is also good as is brown rice, barley and buckwheat.
Foods with monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are a good choice for a heath-healthy diet. Some good fatty foods are olive oil, canola oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. Add these filling foods to your diet for added flavor.
Beans, lentils and peas are a great source of protein without bad fats. Get creative and find ways to make lentils the focal point of a meal.
Sometimes touted as a “super food,” flax seeds have many health benefits and they don’t have much of a flavor, making them easy to add into your current meals. Grind them up and add them to oatmeal, a smoothie, salad and soup, yogurt and even meat dishes.