Healthy foods for the Heart

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Your heart is a finely tuned machine. To keep it running in top form, you need to give it heart-healthy fuel. And that means you should choose a healthy diet.

here are ten heathy foods that offer great heart benefits:

Salmon

Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids which can decrease your risk of abnormal heartbeats (arrhythmias), lower triglyceride levels, slow the growth of plaque in your arteries, and slightly lower blood pressure.

Salmon is a versatile food. Grill it with a rub or marinade, chop some and add it to a pasta dish with fat free marinara sauce, or add it to your salads for a protein punch.

Flaxseed

Ground flaxseed also has omega-3’s, along with both soluble and insoluble fiber. It has one of the highest available sources of lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities.

Flaxseed oil is loaded with omega-3s, but they are the less effective type known as ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). ALA needs special enzymes to be converted to omega-3, and these enzymes are found in your body in limited supply. This means that at most, you can expect about 15% of your flaxseed oil omega-3s to be converted into its most useful forms. So while you certainly do get some benefit, it may be less than your supplement label suggests.

 

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a tasty breakfast food, and another good source of those omega-3 fatty acids. And it is a fiber superstar, offering 4 grams in every one-cup serving. It also has nutrients like magnesium, potassium, and iron.

Black or Kidney Beans

You know the schoolyard chant: “Beans, beans, good for your heart.” Turns out it’s true! Beans have lots of soluble fiber, B-complex vitamins, niacin, folate, magnesium, calcium, and, you guessed it, omega-3 fatty acids.

Almonds

Nuts have been shown to lower blood cholesterol. And for a heart-healthy nut, almonds make a great choice. They contain plant omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, fiber, and heart-favorable monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.. You can also try them in cooking. Sprinkle them on a rice or quinoa dish, or spread them across some salmon for a nice crunch. Choose unsalted almonds for additional cardiac protection.

Walnuts

Walnuts provide a lot of the same health protection as almonds and other tree nuts. They contain plant omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium, folate, fiber, heart-favorable monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and phytosterols. They taste great added to muffins and breakfast pancakes.  Though they are heart-healthy, they are also high in fat and calories and should be eaten in moderation.

 

Red Wine

Red wine contains types of flavonoids called catechins, as well as the antioxidant resveratrol. Flavonoids can help maintain the health of your blood vessels, and may help prevent blood clots. Resveratrol has been shown in the lab to have heart-protecting benefits.

Tuna

Tuna contains omega-3 fatty acids. Although not as high in omega-3s as salmon, tuna does provide a moderately good amount. One serving of tuna also provides about half of your daily requirement of niacin, a nutrient that may improve survival odds for those who have had a heart attack.

Tofu

You can ask Babcock students, Nigeria Tofu is a great source of protein. It’s vegetarian. And it’s full of heart-healthy nutrients including niacin, folate, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

Tofu is sometimes called “bean curd” because it is made from pressed soybean curd. It’s easy to prepare and can be part of almost any meal.

Thinly slice firm tofu, marinate for several hours and grill or add to your favorite veggie stir-fry. Make a tofu, lettuce, and tomato sandwich on whole grain bread.

Brown Rice

Brown rice is not only tasty, it’s part of a heart healthy diet too. Brown rice provides B-complex vitamins, magnesium, and fiber.

You can add brown rice to just about any dish and you can’t go wrong. Microwaveable brown rice with a few chopped veggies makes an easy and quick lunch. Mix it with some black beans or tofu, make a stir-fry, add to soups, or try it cold mixed into an avocado salad.

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