4 Food Categories to Incorporate For Heart Health

By Nadia Murdock

There is no quick fix for creating a strong heart, this is created over time. One of the biggest factors which we all know by now is lifestyle practices that naturally become a part of your everyday life. Some excellent habits include regular exercise, moderate alcohol consumption, avoiding stress, and opting for a healthy diet.   

Consuming foods that are filled with nutrients that can lower your cholesterol helps to keep your heart healthier and deter artery blockages. 

Not sure where to begin? You will want to incorporate the four major food categories in your diet below to get your ticker in tip-top shape.  Continue reading to see what you are already eating regularly and what you can start incorporating.

 1. Antioxidant rich foods

Blueberries: According to the American Heart Association, incorporating at least three servings of blueberries per week into your diet will help decrease your chance of heart attack. Blueberries make for an excellent snack option or topping on your breakfast bowl of choice.

Strawberries: This fruit has a high polyphenol content. Strawberries are packed with antioxidants and health benefits that can improve cardiovascular diseases.

Raspberries: Raspberries are a low-calorie addition to your diet that can also fill you up. They are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. 

Broccoli: “Broccoli is an excellent heart health food especially with its vitamin c content, antioxidants, minerals and potent phytonutrient of sulforaphane.  This helps protect the blood vessels from damage which ultimately helps to prevent cardiovascular events.” shares Jackie Elnahar RD, Esq. Registered dietitian, attorney and founder of TelaDietitian, acquired by Teladoc Health (NYSE: TDOC). Broccoli is so versatile and can really be had at any time of the day. In the mood for a salad? Whip up this quick delicious paleo-friendly broccoli salad for lunch or dinner. 

2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Salmon: Salmon is rich in protein and may reduce the risk of heart disease.  It’s loaded with selenium, which helps to protect your body from damage caused by oxidative stress linked to cardiovascular issues.

Sardines: Filled with omega-3 fatty acids, sardines can help prevent heart disease because of their anti-inflammatory properties. Sure you can have sardines out the can or jar, but why not try making it into a yummy garlic spread? Intrigued? Here is the recipe!

3. Magnesium 

Almonds:  Almonds have protein and are a great option to satisfy hunger during the day, needless to say they are worth adding to your diet. “Almonds are rich in magnesium, fiber and monounsaturated fats that help control blood pressure, blood sugar, and decrease LDL cholesterol, which contributes to plaque formation in the blood vessels.” says Jackie. Switch things up with this almond crusted chicken recipe for dinner, your heart will thank you for it!

4. Low in sugar and salt 

Cacao:  If you are looking to satisfy a sweet tooth craving, stick to cacao which is low in sugar and great for the heart. It helps to improve blood flow to the brain and the heart, preventing clots. “Raw Cacao powder is a great addition to your meals or as a hot drink. It’s delicious and good for you.” says Mickey Popat CEO and Founder PlantOGram.com  If you are craving a cup hot chocolate try this recipe and include some cacao! Gratisfied Empower Bar Cacao also incorporates real, raw cacao as one of its main ingredients.

Revamping your diet to support a healthy heart doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to be delicious! If you aren’t used to eating in this way, step outside your comfort zone and start weaving in some of these staples to rejuvenate your diet.