All the Valentines Day commercials and chatter has me thinking about heart health. Your heart is the pump to your circulatory system which is the pathway for delivering oxygen and nutrients to your organs and tissues. That little heart of yours is ticking away 24 hours a day, keeping you alive and it is time that you show it a bit of love and support.
Here are some heart-healthy food groups to include in your balanced diet,
1. Omega 3 Fatty Acids are on the top of the healthy list.
The role of omega-3 fatty acids in heart health is well established. Clinical evidence suggests that EPA and DHA, the two omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil help reduce risk factors for heart disease, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), another omega-3 fatty acid, is found in plants.
Sources: Fish are a great source including salmon, oysters and sardines. Nuts and seeds are the best plant sources including walnuts, almonds, flax and chia seeds.
Research on supplementing antioxidants is still inconclusive, but dietary antioxidant consumption will help to reduce excess free radicals and reduce oxidative stress on your cells.
Sources: Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries and cherries.
These berries are also full of heart healthy fibre.
Another great source of fibre and antioxidants Beans are a rich source of several vitamins and minerals that are associated with improved heart health, including niacin, magnesium, zinc, and potassium.
4. Good Fats
It is true that some fats are not healthy for you and increase your risk for heart disease, but good fats lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Sources: Avocadoes, olives and cold-pressed olive oils. Fish and nuts fall into this category, making their second appearance on this list.
5. Dark Chocolate (70% cocoa or above)
There are some delicious treats in this category. Cocoa contains flavanol a micronutrient that is thought to help regulate blood pressure and the elasticity of your vessel walls.
Sources: grapes, red wine, tea, cocoa and chocolate.