Heart Healthy Foods You Should Try

August 2nd, 2016 | Posted by admin in Uncategorized

Eating a proper diet can contribute to the healthiest heart.

As you age, taking care of your heart becomes increasingly important. By staying away from tobacco products, managing your stress and staying physically active, you help to keep one of your body's vital organs strong and healthy. But those aren't the only contributing factors – a well-balanced, nutritious diet is also key for maintaining your heart health and reducing your risk for developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, according to Eating Well magazine.

What's the easiest way to decide if a certain food item is good for your heart? Determine where it came from. If it's a processed product, Dr. Julie Zumpan of the Cleveland Clinic said to reconsider eating it.

"Try to eat foods that are in their natural form, as they come from the ground," she said. That means sticking to a whole-foods diet vs. processed foods. 

Need a little guidance? Check out these heart-healthy foods we recommend:

Fish
Fish is a great source of protein that differs from other meats due to its lack of saturated fat content. And, according to the American Heart Association, fish is also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which is incredibly beneficial for your heart - especially if you're living with cardiovascular disease. These fatty acids can even slightly lower your blood pressure, putting less strain on the heart. The recommended weekly amount of fish is about two servings per week.

Oatmeal
Oatmeal makes a quick and easy breakfast, but did you know how beneficial it is for your heart? According to Health magazine, oatmeal is chock-full of soluble fiber – a dietary nutrient that can help lower cholesterol!

"It acts as a sponge in the digestive tract and soaks up the cholesterol so it is eliminated from the body and not absorbed into the bloodstream," registered dietitian Lauren Graf told the source.

Instead of reaching for a bag of pre-packed instant oatmeal, consider making your own from old-fashioned whole grain oats. That way, you'll get the heart-healthy benefits without the added sugars.

Citrus
Citrus fruits make a great snack and can be turned into delicious, refreshing juices. A study by the AHA found that eating citrus fruits – especially orange and grapefruit – may reduce one's risk of ischemic stroke. Following the study, researchers found that the women who ate high amounts of the compound found in these citrus fruits were 19 percent less likely to experience an ischemic stroke than those who consumed the lesser amount. If you don't already, consider adding more citrus to your weekly diet!

Dark chocolate
Chocolate makes an excellent treat for anyone with a sweet craving. But dark chocolate is even more beneficial to your well-being than that, according to a study conducted by researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. They found that eating the stuff on daily basis can actually reduce one's risk of stroke and nonfatal heart attacks. That's because it contains polyphenols, flavanoids that can reduce possible raises in blood pressure and blood clotting. These results applied only to dark chocolate, which is 60-70 percent cocoa – so be sure to avoid the less healthy varieties while you're shopping!

Remember, creating well-balanced, nutritious meals is what's most important for a healthy heart. So when you go grocery shopping and pick up non whole-food items, just be cautious. The AHA suggested taking a close look at the nutrition label and understanding all of the ingredients before you purchase an item. Avoid an ingredient list that seems endless and full of words you cannot pronounce. This can help steer you in the right direction for a heart-healthy diet.

Source: Sunrise Senior Living

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