10 Top Foods to Help Boost Heart HealthBy Jenny Craig
For American Heart Month, we share 10 common foods that you can find in most grocery stores to stock your kitchen and help boost your heart health.
Did you know the leading cause of death in the United States is heart disease? There are some simple ways to help decrease your risk. A healthy, varied diet that includes vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and phytochemicals combined with regular physical activity can help protect against cardiovascular disease. Stock up on these 10 foods that are fantastic for your heart:
A breakfast staple, oatmeal is a comforting meal for a chilly February morning that is also heart smart. A bowl of oatmeal, or about one and a half cups, each day provides enough beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber, to help lower your cholesterol. You can also find this type of fiber in barley and seaweed, too, but we prefer a warm bowl of regular oatmeal with berries any day.
Tomatoes contain two things that help your heart: potassium and lycopene. Potassium effectively lowers blood pressure, and the antioxidant lycopene helps reduce your risk for heart attack by keeping your blood vessels open and lowering “bad” cholesterol, LDL.
Citrus fruits, such as oranges, are good sources of potassium and pectin, another type of soluble fiber, which stops your body from absorbing cholesterol. And, of course, it’s a well-known fact that oranges are packed with vitamin C, a strong defender against stroke.
The American Heart Association recommends consuming two servings of salmon each week since this fish contains a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Not only do omega-3s have an anti-clotting effect, but they also lower a type of fat called triglycerides that can lead to heart disease.
This tiny seed is a powerhouse when it comes to fighting off heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and lignans in flax seeds help lower blood pressure, decrease LDL, and reduce plaque buildup for an overall healthier cardiovascular system.
Rich in antioxidants, specifically flavonoids, blueberries, strawberries and other berries can help decrease your blood pressure and dilate blood vessels. In fact, a study of women aged 25-42 had a 32 percent lower risk of a heart attack because they ate more than three servings of berries per week. For a super heart-healthy breakfast, try adding a few blueberries or strawberries to your oatmeal.
Researchers are increasingly finding that green tea has mega cardiovascular benefits, including the improvement of blood vessel function just 30 minutes after drinking a cup of this calming warm beverage. Like berries, green tea also contains flavonoids.
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale and spinach are all brimming with vitamins, nutrients, fiber and carotenoids, which act like antioxidants and fight off harmful compounds. Omega-3 fatty acids are also present in kale. Best of all, these veggies can be used as Fresh & Free Additions on the Jenny Craig program!
Cook up a pot of low-sodium veggie chili that is loaded with kidney and black beans–both types of beans are rich sources of soluble fiber. This type of fiber sticks to cholesterol during the digestive process and carries it out of your body.
Yes, this treat can actually boost your heart health- in moderation, of course. Dark chocolate that is at least 70 percent cocoa is known to boost your heart health because of flavonols that lower blood pressure by relaxing the arteries and increasing blood flow.
With Jenny Craig, you can still enjoy your favorite foods, there is no need to eliminate any food groups. No counting, tracking or worrying. Want to see if Jenny Craig is right for you? Book a free appointment to learn more!