Did you know that heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States? Celebrate your health and your heart this February, National Heart Month, by trying some of these foods below. Your heart will thank you!
Fresh Herbs: When replacing salt or fat for flavoring, herbs can make many foods hearth-healthy. Also, some herbs such as thyme, oregano, sage and rosemary are known to contain Antioxidants.
Black Beans: Rich in vitamins and nutrients such as magnesium, folate, antioxidants and fiber, black beans can help lower blood pressure, control blood sugar levels and also helps to decrease the “bad”,or LDL, cholesterol. Be sure to rinse canned beans thoroughly before using them to rid them of excess salt.
Red Wine: A 5-oz glass of red wine contains healthy amounts of the antioxidants resveratrol and catechins. These antioxidants help maintain the integrity of your arterial walls, as well as increasing levels of the “good”, or HDL, cholesterol.
Salmon: Salmon contains a high amount of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids (known as EPA and DHA for short). These fatty acidshelp reduce the risk of athereogenesis, which can lead to a heart attack. Aim for at least two to three 4- ounce servings a week.
Almonds: A handful of almonds contains fiber, vitamin E, plant sterols plant sterols and monounsaturated fats. Almonds are known to help reduce fat build-up in the arteries. Toss a handful into your morning oatmeal, use on top of salads or eat as a healthy snack.
Soy: In the form of tofu or edamame, soy provides a heart-healthy protein option. Substituting soy for red meat cuts out the saturated fat and cholesterol and offers a good source of fiber.
Potatoes: Potatoes have high amounts of potassium, which helps regulate and control blood pressure. The skin also provides fiber. Try pairing sliced red potatoes with onion, drizzle with heart healthy extra virgin olive oil and bake.
Oatmeal: Oats help to lower LDL cholesterol, which helps reduce the risk of heart disease. They also help to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Heart-Healthy Cooking Tips Forget the Fat
Grill, broil, or bake meats and steam vegetables. These cooking methods require little to no added fat.
Take skin off all poultry products Choose Select or Choice grades of beef with trimmed fat over Prime grades
Applesauce for oil
Plain Greek non-fat yogurt for sour cream
2 egg whites for 1 egg
Slash the salt
· Use plenty of fresh herbs and lemon juice in place of salty seasonings
· Rinse canned vegetables before eating
Choose fresh or frozen produce over canned
· Breads and other processed foods are the highest source of sodium in the average American’s diet. Be sure to check the nutrition label for less than 140mg sodium per serving.
Written by: Lauren Martin, ARAMARK Dietetic Intern and reviewed by Rebecca Stack, MPH, RD, LDN at Main Line Health.
Main Line Health is a leading provider of minimally invasive robotic heart surgery.