Your heart is one of the most important organs in your body, and it is also one of the most commonly affected by various diseases and conditions. Eat the following foods to keep it healthy.
Two of the hardest things these days are staying healthy and snacking properly (i.e. avoiding junk food). Luckily, there is a way to do both at the same time; at least as far as your heart health is concerned. While most people tend to believe that maintaining good heart health is about staying away from certain foods, it is equally influenced by the foods that you eat proactively. Listed below are some snacks that will help improve your heart health and cut the risk factors associated with heart disease.
The phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” never quite specified which doctor. It seems that it may have meant the cardiologist; apples come in second when it comes to antioxidant content only to cranberries (which are significantly harder to snack on). Apples are also quite high in pectin, a fiber that has been shown to help boost cardiovascular strength. An apple as a snack will help improve your cholesterol and cut various cardiovascular risk factors all at once.
Beans may give you the occasional bout of gas, but they do wonders for your heart health. In fact, consuming legumes regularly can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 22%. Chickpeas are king in this arena. Not only are they packed with fiber (which helps lower your cholesterol and regulate your digestive system) but they also contain Omega 3 fatty acids, potassium, and antioxidants. Simply snack on a handful of chickpeas or match some pita to hummus (which is made from chickpeas). It will do your heart wonders.
Almonds are, by all accounts, the jack of all trades when it comes to nuts. Not only are they extremely high in protein, fiber, and Omega-3’s, but they also boast a low carbohydrate content. In fact, calorie for calories, almonds have the most nutrients and cardiovascular benefits of any nut on the market. This is in large part due to their potassium, magnesium, Vitamin E, and fiber content. Simply snack on a handful whenever you’re hungry and drink a glass of water afterwards. It will help expand the fiber in your stomach, thus making you feel fuller for longer.
Blueberries have long been regaled for their high antioxidant content, and fittingly so. Eating a cup of these magical berries a day can have wondrous effects on your triglyceride and cholesterol levels, as well as protect you against damage from free radicals (which causes everything from aging to cancer). Blueberries actually prevent the buildup of arterial plaque and help regulate your blood pressure. It seems there isn’t much that they won’t do.
Perhaps the best part is the variety in ways you can eat them. Sprinkle some blueberries on your cereal, throw them into a fruit smoothie, or simply snack on them fresh out of the box. Whenever possible, opt for the organic variety. They seem to have a higher antioxidant count than their conventionally grown brethren.