Heart Healthy Foods February: Love Your Heart Month

Why should you eat heart healthy foods?

  1. To provide the necessary nutrients that your body needs to create new cells, clean toxins, and to just function every day.
  2. Heart healthy foods can help prevent future diseases such as diabetes and cancer
  3. You will have more energy and be more alert.

Heart Healthy Foods

Salmon: contains a large amount of omega-3 fatty acids and helps lower the risk of irregular heartbeat, plaque build-up in arteries and triglycerides.
Old-fashioned Oats: high in fiber, and absorbs cholesterol before it enters the bloodstream. Avoid flavored instant oatmeal because it often contains sugar.
Berries: decrease risk of heart attack, blood pressure, and dilates blood vessels.
Citrus Fruits: high in vitamin C, which has been linked with a lower risk of heart disease.
Dark Chocolate: reduces risk of heart attacks and stroke and contains polyphenols which may help reduce blood pressure, clotting, and inflammation.
Soy: good source of protein that contains high amounts of polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It also may reduce blood pressure and decrease cholesterol.
Potatoes: rich in potassium and fiber which may reduce blood pressure and risk of heart disease.
Nuts: contains fiber and vitamin E, which lowers cholesterol.
Tomatoes: rich in potassium, and contains lycopene which helps get rid of bad cholesterol, keep blood vessels open, and lower risk of heart attack.
Legumes: good source of protein and can help lower risk of heart disease and controls blood sugar.
Extra-virgin Olive Oil: a good source of monounsaturated fats which can help reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Kale: along with broccoli and spinach, gives an extra boost to your heart. It contains antioxidants and is high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Green Tea: contains antioxidants that reduces risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Coffee: can lower risk of heart disease, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Flax Seeds: rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and are high in fiber.
Avocado: rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants.
Pomegranate: contains a large amount of antioxidants which can improve blood flow to the heart.

Heart Healthy Foods and Exercise:

  1. Make sure you start your day off with a healthy meal to power up your brain and muscles! Tip: Start off with Old-fashion oats for fiber, and nuts for protein.
  2. Eat complex carbohydrates which are your body's main source of energy! These are found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans.
  3. Include protein in your snack and meals! Protein is important for building and repairing muscles. Tip: Adults need 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of their body weight.
  4. Choose healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, and avocados! Fat is turned into energy during aerobic exercise and long workouts.
  5. Eat the right balance of carbohydrates and protein before working out such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and nut butters. Eating these as a pre-workout snack can make you feel more energized.

This spark page was created by a student at VCU in HPEX 495. Your feedback will be much appreciated and your information will not be shared.

Stay tuned for next weeks segment of Love Your Heart: Heart Healthy Mindfulness!


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