Posted .

imgres

The heart is faced with the tremendous task of keeping our blood circulating throughout our bodies, without ever skipping a beat or stopping to rest.  To keep our hearts beating strong, we should try to choose foods that will help the heart. There is no denying that this is always easier said than done. However, if you make yourself aware of heart healthy foods, you will be more successful in accomplishing your goal. The simple answer is to follow the advice your probably have heard many times before; eat plenty of green vegetables and fruits.  In addition to this traditional advice, there is a more detailed outline below of some of the best foods for your heart.

imgres-1

Fish

If you already eat fish on a consistent basis, you are ahead of the game.  For those of you who don’t usually eat fish, it might be a good idea to start having it more often.  For your heart, salmon is one the best choices.  Salmon is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, meaning that it will help reduce blood pressure and stop clots from forming.  Also, salmon is rich in the vitamin B12 that helps the serotonin production in the brain.  If you would rather not eat fish as part of your diet, you can take fish oil supplements instead. Fish oil can be found in the section with the rest of the vitamins at your local pharmacy.

imgres-2

Oatmeal

When choosing which oatmeal to go with, the best kind is either steel-cut or coarse oats.  Oatmeal, among many other things, is great in reducing LDL cholesterol and keeping your arteries clear.

imgres-3

Avocados

 Filled with monounsaturated fats, an avocado will also help reduce LDL and at the same will help increase good cholesterol (HDL) levels.

imgres-4

Olive Oil

 Olive oil is on the list of one of the fats that is good for you to consume. It will help lower your risk of developing heart disease. Olive oil is full of monounsaturated fats that lower LDL in the vascular system.

images

Nuts

Nuts are great for building brainpower, and they also help keep the heart healthy.  There are many nuts out there to chose from, but some have more health benefits than others.  Walnuts, macadamia nuts, and almonds are some of the better choices.  These nuts have polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, along with omega 3. Like the healthy fats found in olive oil, these fats are good for the heart and our bodies overall.  Nuts can be eaten plain, or sprinkled on something.  Some people put nuts on their salads, cereals, or yogurts.

imgres-5

Berries

Blueberries in particular are great for the heart and have ant-inflammatory properties.  Berries have been shown to help improve vascular health, as well.

imgres-6

Flaxseed

Flaxseed can be consumed in a number of ways, but many people grind it up and sprinkle it on their salad or yogurt. It contains omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which are both beneficial to the heart.

imgres-7

Spinach and Kale

Two very important leafy green vegetables; they contain the vitamin lutein, folate, potassium and fiber.

imgres-8

Beans

Beans are heart healthy and contain vitamin B.  They are also filled with protein and fiber, which helps naturally “scrub” and clean out our intestines.  On top of this all, beans help reduce stress. They can be eaten in a number of ways and work well with a variety of dishes.

In general, the key to eating healthy is to have variety in your diet. If you eat a broad range of different foods, you receive a wider range of nutritional benefits.  When it comes to eating the right foods to keep your heart strong, you want to avoid saturated and trans fats at all costs. While the foods mentioned above all help to build good cholesterol in the body, trans and saturated fats create bad cholesterol (LDL) that causes our arteries to become clogged.  The chart below shows food that contains both healthy and unhealthy cholesterol.  Try reducing fatty foods like butter in your diet by substituting them for other choices, like non-fat yogurt.  You could also try using olive oil on you bread or bagel, instead of butter.

Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 11.12.38 PM