Food for your Heart

For Valentines Day love is in the air, and you can serve a heart healthy meal that also tastes great! Valentines day is associated with chocolate, berries and wine, these foods are all great for your heart as well.  So as you enjoy your romantic meal with your sweetheart, know that you are taking care of your heart. Here are some great heart healthy foods. Tomorrow I'll share a great Valentines heart healthy menu with you.

Salmon and Tuna Eating two or more servings of fish per week is associated with a 30 percent lower risk of developing heart disease. Omega-3s also lower blood pressure slightly and can help prevent irregular heart rhythms.

Oatmeal Omega-3 fatty acids; magnesium; potassium; folate; niacin; calcium; soluble fiber. A great breakfast food that helps reduce your cholesterol

Whole Grains

People who eat plenty of whole grains tend to be leaner and have a lower risk of heart disease than those who don’t. This is probably because whole grains contain antioxidants, and high fiber that are protective against heart disease.

Beans, beans, beans are good for your heart!  1⁄2 cup of cooked pinto beans daily might lower cholesterol. It  prevents the adhesion of platelets in the blood, which can help lower risk for heart attack and strokes.

Nuts

Research suggests that people who eat nuts—walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, pine nuts and peanuts (which actually are legumes) two to four days  per week have a lower chance of heart disease

Red wine Let's drink to good health! A glass of red wine could improve "good" HDL cholesterol.  people who drink moderately are less likely to have heart disease than those who do not. Drinking in moderation may protect the heart by raising  HDL cholesterol, decreasing inflammation and “thinning the blood” (preventing clots that can cause heart attack and stroke). Moderate drinking also increases estrogen, which protects the heart—a benefit particularly helpful to postmenopausal women whose reduced estrogen levels increase their risk of heart disease. Remember, 1 drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor.

Brown rice

Helps lower your cholesterol.

Yogurt may protect against gum disease. Left unchecked, gum disease may elevate a person’s risk for heart disease.

Apples are also rich in pectin, a form of soluble fiber known to help lower cholesterol, and they provide a decent amount of vitamin C, another antioxidant.

Tomatoes

An excellent source of vitamin C, plus vitamin A, potassium and fiber, tomatoes are high in lycopene. Cooking may actually increase the health benefits

Berries

Eating just under a cup of mixed berries daily for eight weeks was associated with increased levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and lowered blood pressure, that is great when it comes to heart health,

 Pomegranates

Studies have shown that the fruit may help to reduce the buildup of plaque in arteries and lower blood pressure.

 

Popcorn

Popcorn delivers polyphenols—antioxidants linked to improving heart health. Gram for gram, popcorn boasts three times more polyphenols than kidney beans (the highest vegetable polyphenol source) and four times more than cranberries (the best fruit source), according to recent research out of the University of Scranton.

Bananas

One banana has 422 mg—about 12 percent of your recommended daily dose—of potassium. The potassium in bananas helps maintain normal heart function and the balance of sodium and water in the body. Potassium helps the kidneys excrete excess sodium, thereby contributing to healthy blood pressure. This mineral is especially important for people taking diuretics for heart disease, which combat sodium and water retention but also strip potassium from the body in the process. Other good sources include sweet potates (694 mg for one medium), nonfat yogurt (579 mg for 1 cup) and spinach (419 mg for 1/2 cup, cooked).

Raisins

Research has shown that antioxidants in raisins fight the growth of a type of bacteria that can cause inflammation and gum disease. People with gum disease—which affects up to 50 percent of American adults—are twice as likely to suffer from heart problems.

Dark chocolate Researchers have discovered that eating moderate amounts of  rich dark chocolate has a blood-thinning effect,may also boost the immune system by reducing inflammation. Maintaining youthful blood vessels lowers risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and dementia. Choose 70% or higher cocoa content.

Tea

Some of the strongest evidence of tea’s health benefits comes from studies of heart disease. Scientists have found that those who drink 12 ounces or more of tea a day are about half as likely to have a heart attack as nontea drinkers. Green tea is a great choice.

Other great heart healthy foods are:

Carrots, Spinach, Broccoli, Sweet potato, Red bell peppers, Asparagus, Acorn squash

Oranges,Cantaloupe, Papaya