Continuing with healthy heart month, did you know that the human heart will beat over two billion times during the average lifetime. It is vitally important to keep your heart healthy. One of the best ways to protect your heart is by eating a heart-healthy diet. There are many foods that are recommended to nourish and protect your heart. Eating a variety of foods in moderation is a terrific way to begin a heart-healthy diet.
Oats and oatmeal are some of the best sources of nutrients for a healthy cardiovascular system. Oats contain soluble fiber. This fiber is known to lower the levels of cholesterol in your bloodstream. Lowering cholesterol is an important part of keeping your heart in optimal working condition. Cholesterol causes plaque to build up on the walls of the arteries. This build-up can cause blockages and may lead to a heart attack or stroke. Eating oatmeal as a breakfast alternative to eggs and bacon is a great way to reduce fat and cholesterol in your diet. Studies have shown that diets high in soluble fiber can decrease the risk of heart disease by as much as 36%. Just be sure that if you are a Celiac or gluten intolerant, you choose oats that are certified gluten free.
If you are looking for protein in your diet, grilled or poached salmon is the way to go. Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids which are excellent for your heart. Adding fish to a diet that was once filled with red meat is a spectacular way to reduce the intake of harmful fats and lower cholesterol. Fish oils are thought to protect the heart. Almonds and walnuts also provide that omega-3 fatty acid. Nuts and fish are superb sources of protein with very little fat that is harmful.
Olive oil is also considered a heart-healthy food. Replacing butter or margarine with olive oil when you cook is a delicious way to protect your heart. Olive oil does not contain the saturated fats that are common in butter or margarine. Cutting saturated fats from your diet lowers cholesterol in the bloodstream. Olive oil also contains the vitamins necessary for a healthy heart, including vitamin E. Topping salads or even frying in olive oil is a terrific way to protect your heart.
There are many options for snacking that include foods good for cardiovascular health. Some great heart-healthy snacks include mixed berries dipped in dark chocolate. It is hard to imagine chocolate as a healthy food, but dark chocolate is considered to be one of the best snacks for a healthy diet. Vegetables with hummus dip are also great for snacking. Hummus is made from heart-healthy ingredients and is a wonderful alternative to the usual dips made from fattening cheese. Fresh fruits, vegetables and fat-free yogurt are included on the list of healthy snacks. Just be aware that fat free foods sometimes contain more additives and which may include gluten. So be sure to read labels. Mixed nuts added to fat-free yogurt create a meal that is both low in saturated fat and high in protein. Keeping your heart healthy is a matter of making the right choices while eating. Picking foods that are low in fat and packed with vitamins are the best choices.
As an aside, If you read the report from the Mayo Clinic, I disagree with margarine and tuna. I would never eat margarine. It’s manmade and in my honest opinion, total garbage. Also, tuna…you need to eat tuna in moderation because of the heavy metals that it has in it, especially mercury. Limit your tuna consumption to once a week or less.
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