Love Your Heart with 8 Heart-Healthy Foods

February isn’t just the month of flowers, chocolates or spending time with the ones you love..but as heart health month, it’s also about loving your heart! Heart disease remains one of the leading causes of death for both men and women1. Lifestyle choices play a major role in preventing heart disease as well as controlling it. With this in mind, it’s never too early to start focusing on overall heart health. Show your heart how much you appreciate it by incorporating these heart healthy foods!

Berries – Please your heart with antioxidant rich berries like strawberries, goji berries and blackberries, which are an antioxidant powerhouse! Blueberries for example, house high amounts of phytonutrients like anthocyanidins, which aid in the process of neutralizing free radical damage in our cells. Consuming 1-2 portions of berries daily may help reduce cardiovascular disease risk2.

Brussel Sprouts – Tender, crunchy and just a little bit nutty, brussel sprouts have more to offer than just flavor. This cruciferous veggie contains vitamin C and vitamin A which help fight against heart disease, and vitamin Its high fiber content aids in digestion, helps lower cholesterol and reduces the risk for developing heart disease, stroke and hypertension3.

Chia Seeds – Chia seeds contain a high level of soluble fiber, which helps slow down digestion and regulates blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber can help lower LDL cholesterol, reduce risk for cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Just three tablespoons of these seeds can provide 37-44% of the American Heart Association’s recommended amount of fiber per day. Two tablespoons of chia seeds provide a 3:1 ratio of omega-3:omega-6 FA. With 3x more omega-3 than omega-6, adding chia seeds to a diet can help an individual reach optimal health by balancing out the ratio of fatty-acid intake in one’s daily nutrition. To learn more about chia seeds, click here.

Collard Greens – This cruciferous veggie is high in vitamins A,C, K and folate. It contains antioxidants and provides us with anti-inflammatory benefits.

Greek Yogurt – Low in saturated fat and cholesterol, Greek yogurt makes for a heart-healthy snack. It’s high in protein and calcium, which can help you stay fuller longer, while strengthening your bones.

Olives – Monounsaturated fats in moderation are heart-healthy fats that help lower blood cholesterol levels4. A rich source of monounsaturated fats is olives, which have been shown to lower LDL (“bad cholesterol”) and increase or maintain HDL (“good cholesterol”).

Salmon – High in omega-3 fatty acid, DHA and protein, salmon helps lower blood pressure and reduces inflammation5.

Wheat germ – Packed with B vitamins, the nutrients found in the grain play a vital role in maintaining heart-healthy bodily functions. In addition to lowering the risk of heart disease, B vitamins like folate are especially for women of childbearing age as well as any woman eating too little veggies or fruits. As an excellent source of fiber, wheat germ helps control cholesterol.