Did you know heart disease is the leading cause of death for women? It is the cause of every 1 out of 3 deaths per year! The month of February is Heart Health Month and the goal is to spread awareness and empower women everywhere to take control of their heart health.
Along with physical activity, the foods you eat play a huge role in assuring your heart is in tip top shape. I’m sharing some top foods that could help below:
- OATS & WHOLE GRAINS: Oats are one of the most nutritious grains. Packed with a balanced combination of carbs, fiber (which is great for blood sugar control) and antioxidants that help improve blood flow and can help reduce inflammation.
- DARK LEAFY GREENS: Greens like kale and spinach are rich in Vitamin K, the vitamin that helps control blood clotting and bone health. It’s also super low in calories and can be eaten raw or cooked.
- AVOCADO: Avocados have grown pretty popular the last few years and have been labeled “the healthy fat” for good reason! It’s filled with mono-unsaturated fats and antioxidants. Avocados are calorie-dense (high calorie due to high fat content) so a portion size is about a quarter of an avocado.
- BERRIES: the “berries family” has recently gained popularity as heart healthy promoters due to their rich content of antioxidants, specifically anthocyanins, flavanols, and fiber. Aim to eat a variety of berries in your and your family’s diet, including strawberries, blueberries, and acai.
- DARK CHOCOLATE: (Yum!) Dark chocolate is the most pure form of cacao and rich in flavonoids, which helps protect cells from environmental toxins, and antioxidants which fight off free radical cells and lower “LDLs” in the body (LDLs are known to be “bad cholesterol.”) Research has found that up to 2oz of dark chocolate a day could be beneficial!
- FLAX SEED: Can be found as whole seeds, powders or in tablet form. Flax is high in omega-3s which also help reduce bad cholesterol build up and improve blood flow. Flax has a good ratio of protein and fiber which can help regulate blood sugar, too.
- SALMON: Salmon is another rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, so similar to flax, it regulates blood flow, reduces the risk of blood clotting (and stroke) and decreases LDLs and triglycerides. The CDC recommends eating around 3-4 oz of fish twice a week for adults.
- RED WINE: (Woo hoo!) The grapes from the red wine are rich in antioxidants, specifically resveratrol which has been found to repair blood vessel damage, reduce inflammation, reduce bad cholesterol and prevent blood clotting… So don’t feel bad about reaching for that glass of wine after a long day of mommy-ing; you deserve it! Just remember that alcohol should be consumed in moderation, up to 3-4 glasses a week.
How can the foods listed here be incorporated into you and your family’s regular diet? By modeling healthy food behaviors at home, you’re also doing your kiddos a favor by encouraging them to try and eat these foods too (excluding wine, of course!)
The foods above can promote a healthy heart in many ways, but it’s important to emphasize that an overall balanced diet, paired with regular physical activity, and keeping up with annual exams with your physician is key!
For more information on heart healthy eating, reach out to your doctor or a Registered Dietitian!
You can read more on what proactive measures you can take by clicking here.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy February!