Boost Heart Health
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and that’s an ideal time to acknowledge the importance of cardiovascular health. "Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease. About 655,000 Americans die from heart disease each year—that's 1 in every 4 deaths".
Diet plays a key role in reducing the risk of developing heart disease. Adding more heart healthy foods like fiber, plant based foods, and healthy fats can help influence blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol levels, and inflammation, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.
Here are 12 foods to include as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet that can help keep your heart healthy.
Avocado - loaded with fiber, vitamin C, healthy fats, and potassium
Blueberries- packed with antioxidants and fiber
Brown rice- rich in fiber and special compounds called lignans
Dark chocolate- contains compounds called flavanoids, which have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties
Oranges- contain flavanones, rich in antioxidants, vitamin C and B
Fatty fish- like wild salmon and sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce inflammation
Nuts and seeds- like chia, flax, walnuts, and almonds, contain healthy fats and fiber
Beans- excellent source of fiber and resistant starch
Tomatoes- contain lycopene which are powerful antioxidants. Also rich in vitamins C, A, and potassium
Leafy greens- rich in fiber, folic acid, and antioxidants
Olive oil- high in antioxidants and monounsaturated fat
Green tea- high in polyphenols and catechins
Did you know that 58 million pounds of chocolate will be purchased in the seven days leading up to February 14th? That's alot of chocolate and sugar! Cacao powder is super healthy though, and packed with flavonoids. These nutrients have been shown to help lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, and aid in preventing blood clots. So making delicious treats with cacao powder is healthy and smart. This chocolate berry smoothie is a great option for breakfast or dessert! Enjoy!
Stay safe and healthy,
Heart-Healthy Chocolate Berry Smoothie
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup water
1 cup wild frozen blueberries or mixed berries
2-4 TB cacao powder(use more if you desire a more chocolatey smoothie)
1 TB raw unfiltered honey
*For a protein boost add your favorite protein powder (I like unflavored collagen by Vital Proteins)
*For additional heart healthy nutrition add 1-2 TB chia seeds or ground flax
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth
Add ice (optional)