by Katie Mazzia
When it comes to heart health, it’s all about decreasing inflammation, getting enough soluble fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
Eat these foods to keep your heart running like a well-oiled machine!
1) Nuts or Nut Butter
Why: Provide healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), fiber, Vitamin E and L-arginine to keep your vessels healthy.
How much: Aim for ¼ cup or 2 T. of a nut butter, 3-5 times a week
Tip: You don’t have to stick with just one kind of nut! Try almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, cashews, and pecans. Typical nut butters other than peanut include almond and cashew.
2) Healthy Fats:
Why: Healthy oils replace saturated fat and trans fat (aka “partially hydrogenated oil”).
How much: 1 teaspoon of any oil has about 45 calories, therefore monitor your portion if you need to for weight control.
Tip: Extra Virgin Olive Oil (best used cold or moderate temperature cooking) or canola oil is best.
3) Fatty Fish
Why: Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA + DHA) help reduce your risk of blot clots
How much = Aim for 6 ounces, 2 times a week
Tip: Choose Salmon (wild caught)-fresh, frozen canned, Barramundi, tuna or sardines. If you don’t like fish, you can take a fish oil supplement although is best to check with your physician first.
4) Mixed Berries
Why: Deliver high amounts of antioxidants, flavonoids and fiber to reduce inflammation.
How much: Aim for 1 cup, 3 times a week
Tip: Buy Frozen berries in the winter since they are not in season. Try defrosting and add to yogurt, cereal, and oatmeal or make a quick smoothie.
5) Soluble Fiber and High Fiber Foods
Why: Soaks up the bad cholesterol by reducing your LDL.
How much: If your cholesterol is high, aim for 5-10 grams of soluble fiber a day. Tip: Foods with the most soluble fiber include beans, oatmeal, oat bran, barley, pears, apples, prunes and cereals (look for “soluble fiber” on the Nutrition Facts label).
6) Red Wine
Why: Red wine contains resveratrol, an antioxidant from red grapes which some studies show may be more “heart-healthy” than other alcohols.
How much: 1 serving= 5 ounces wine
Tip: If you do consume alcohol, the AHA recommends no more than 1 drink a day for women and 2 a day for men. If you’re at risk for breast cancer, drinking can increase your risk. Discuss this with your physician if you are concerned.
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