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Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death for adults in America, and one of the primary reasons for this is an unhealthy diet. Healthy hearts start with hearty diets and heart healthy habits. There’s a lot of unhealthy foods and snacks marketed to us 24/7, and it can be hard to avoid buying the junk that clogs your arteries. They taste good, plus they look good. But the effect on our bodies doesn’t lie, and studies certainly don’t.

It can be overwhelming to completely change your diet, but you can take it slow and still feel positive effects. A quick web search shows a plethora of healthy meals for heart. The good news is there are plenty of heart conscious foods that are available at every grocery store, so you can start implementing them into your diet incrementally or all at once. Studies show as you begin to see the signs your heart is healthy, you’ll also just feel better all around.

Foods and Benefits

Most studies for a healthy heart show there are primarily three categories of foods. Fruits and veggies that are high in vitamins in minerals, grains that are high in soluble fiber, and foods that have Omega 3 fats. Here are the healthiest heart foods in each category and their benefits.

Veggies

heart healthy greens

As far as heart healthy veggies go, dark leafy greens are the way to go. Spinach, kale, and collard greens are all high in vitamin K, which protects arteries and promotes proper blood clotting. In addition, they are also high in nitrates and an important B vitamin called folate that is helpful in heart disease prevention.

Fruits

heart healthy berries

Fruits are good for your health for a myriad of reasons, but if you’re looking for the healthiest heart options, you can’t go wrong with basically any of the berries. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries are all full of phytonutrients, which protect against heart disease, and soluble fiber, which lowers blood cholesterol levels.

As a popular and cheap fruit, many people wonder, are bananas heart healthy? Bananas are high in fiber, potassium, folate, and antioxidants, such as vitamin C, all of which support the health of your heart. So, yes! Your body is never going to be mad at you for having a banana.

While most people don’t know this is technically a fruit, many people wonder, are avocados heart healthy? As a food full of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which all support a healthy heart, avocados are a very good food to implement into your everyday diet. They’re also high in monounsaturated fat, which lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Whole Grains

heart healthy grains

Rich in fiber and nutrient packed, whole grains are very good for your heart. Buckwheat, brown rice and quinoa provide the fiber needed to promote digestive and a strong heart. These foods also have vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are beneficial for the rest of your body’s health as well.

Is oatmeal heart healthy? Oats contain a beta-glucan fiber which can lower bad cholesterol, so oatmeal can be a delicious and easy way to implement them into your diet. Add in some berries, and you’ve got a yummy and heart conscious breakfast.

Omega 3

heart healthy walnuts

Omega 3s are a type of polyunsaturated fat that improves heart health and can protect against strokes. The most common way to get omega 3s in your diet is through fish, nuts, and seeds.

Chock full of omega 3s, walnuts are by far the heart healthiest nut. However, as two of the most popular and tasty nuts, many people wonder: are almonds heart healthy? Are pistachios heart healthy? While neither contain significant omega 3 levels, both almonds and pistachios contain many other heart focused benefits.

Why is fish considered to be a heart healthy food? Well, fish such as salmon and tuna are a heart healthy protein alternative to red meats, which can be detrimental for heart health. It also contains the heart healthy oil that is also found in plant based omega 3s such as canola, soy, and flaxseed oil.

Try Heart Healthy Foods

An important thing to keep in mind as you’re implementing heart conscious foods into your diet is that there’s a lot more to heart health than just the food aspect. The healthy heart facts are you should be getting a good amount of sleep, managing stress levels, and also monitoring your blood pressure levels. When doctors look for signs of a healthy heart, the first thing they will do is check your resting heart rate and your blood pressure. A normal resting heart rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute, and a optimal blood pressure is below 120/80. Remember—diet, sleep, exercise: the three keys to heart health.

Author Dr. Rand

Dr. McClain has dedicated over 35 years of his personal and professional life studying nutrition, exercise, herbs and supplements and is also a Master of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

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