There are all kinds of “heart healthy” foods one can add to their diet, but if you eat a wide variety of whole plant foods now, you are already engaged in a heart-healthy diet. We all like lists and bullets, so here’s a quick guide on how to add foods to my diet to make my “ticker” tick a little better.
Below are five of my favorite heart healthy foods! This week’s challenge for you is to try and get one or two of them in your diet this week and add another one or two next week. Enjoy!
These nuts provide a rich source of cholesterol-lowering sterols, and monounsaturated fats. Unlike saturated fat, the mono kind doesn’t block the removal of LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream.
Earlier this year, Cornell University researchers found that eating one Red Delicious apple a day can block LDL oxidation, resulting in an 8 percent drop in levels. Bonus: Apples (and their skins) contain soluble fiber, the kind that scrubs artery walls clean. Cut one up and mix it into your oatmeal, another top source. Apples also contain quercetin, which is natural anti-histamine for those that suffer from allergies.
Eat more beans and replace some of your animal protein with these really great vegetarian protein sources. Beans are high in fiber, low in fat and they fill you up on fewer calories. Kidney, black, white beans, or any bean, you can eat them all. Make 3-bean chili, toss beans on a cold salad or replace your beef for bean tacos.
Similar to the resveratrol in grapes, pterostilbene, an antioxidant found in blueberries, can stimulate liver cells to better break down fat and cholesterol, according to USDA scientists. Fresh or frozen, toss them into a smoothie or in your hot oatmeal (oatmeal is a super heart healthy breakfast option, loaded with fiber & low in fat!)
Two weekly servings of fatty fish, like salmon, can lower LDL by 20 percent. You don’t like fish? Enjoy plant-based omega 3 fatty acids in chia seeds, flaxseed, walnuts and hemp seed oil.