Heart Healthy Foods

Having a healthy heart begins with a good diet – as well as exercise, kindness, good intentions, and love!

The heart loves foods that help lower blood pressure, raise the good cholesterol (HDL), lower the bad (LDL), as well as those loaded with phytonutrients, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins to both repair and protect cells, wipe out free radicals, protect blood vessels, boost immunity and provide fiber to carry the toxins out of the body.

So when it comes to your heart, what foods help it go pitter patter and keep you healthy and strong?

Salmon – loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, it can slow plaque building in arteries and lower cholesterol.

Nuts – a leaner alternative to meat proteins, some good choices are almonds and walnuts, both loaded with omega-3s, magnesium and fiber.

Olive and flax seed oils – both can lower cholesterol (too much of either of these can be overkill so use sparingly).

Black and red kidney beans – contain B vitamins, niacin, omega-3s, calcium and fiber.

Oatmeal – lowers cholesterol (and tastes fabulous on a cold winter’s day)!

Dark chocolate – lowers both cholesterol and blood pressure.

Berries – blueberries, strawberries, mulberries (and every other berry you can get your hands on) are high in antioxidants, help lower both cholesterol and blood pressure.

Tomatoes – lycopene antioxidant.

Popcorn – air popped with no butter or salt makes a great fiber as well as an antioxidant.

Red wine – catechins and reservatrol (flavonoids) may help raise your good cholesterol.

A host of other fruits and vegetables that keep your heart functioning up to par – broccoli, squash, papaya, sweet potatoes, spinach, cantaloupe, red bell peppers, asparagus, and oranges. (These are favorites to juice also so your cells get an extra potent dose of these power house foods.)

Tea – chock-full of catechins and flavanoids.

A good healthy diet, exercise to relieve stress, hobbies to make your spirit happy, and helping out your fellow humans all help to keep your ticker tick-tocking for a long time.