The Daily Dish

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Are you heart healthy?


20 Heart Healthy Foods

heart plate with tape measureHeart disease is the number one cause of death among women in the U.S. and in other developed countries.  Chances are you or someone you know has experienced heart disease or the effects of and know the impact that it has on ones quality of life.  You can start today by making changes in your diet and lifestyle that will decrease your risk of developing heart disease.  Part of this strategy is to have a diet rich in heart-healthy foods and to incorporate moderate exercise in your daily schedule.  To make it easier for you to know what foods are considered heart-healthy, we have compiled a list of our favorite food items, selected especially for women:

  • Salmon – this fish is still the best source of omega 3 fatty acids, which lowers bad cholesterol. It is best to grill or cook in light olive oil for heart-healthy cooking.
  • Ground flaxseed – This foodstuff is different from other grains as it contains omega 3 fatty acids and phytoestrogens that normalize hormonal surges common in women. In addition, it contains a lot of fiber to cleanse the colon and prevent constipation.
  • Oatmeal – this is probably one of the best nutritious cereals. It also contains omega 3 fatty acids and fiber, but it also has good amounts of magnesium, potassium and folate.
  • Black or Kidney beans – women should increase servings of beans as it contains energy releasing vitamin B complex to perk up sluggish metabolism, calcium for the bones and omega 3 fatty acids for the heart.
  • Tree nuts – like almonds and walnuts are very important for women, inside and out. It contains vitamin E which destroys free radicals to keep skin smooth and healthy. Besides containing omega 3, it also contains heart-friendly mono and polyunsaturated fats that work together to lower bad cholesterol levels.
  • Red wine – it contains just enough alcohol for a healthy heart while each glass contains catechins and resveratrol from grapes. These compounds are antioxidants that keep the arteries flexible and in good condition.
  • Tofu – soybeans and its products have high amounts of niacin and folate, plus minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium, which are important to support body processes in women and men.
  • Carrots, brocolli and asparagus – these vividly colored vegetables are packed with carotenoids which are converted into vitamin A in the body for good eyesight and vitamin B for steady release of energy.
  • Sweet potatoes and squash – they have carotenoids and vitamin B complex, which is important for the integrity of arterial walls. Their fiber contents makes these foods filling and prevents rapid rise of blood sugar. These crops also prevent hormonal imbalances prevalent in women.
  • Cantaloupe, papaya, tomatoes and oranges – these fruits are vividly colored because of their antioxidant content, which are important for the health of the arteries.
  • Coffee, tea and chocolate – besides having caffeine, which stimulates brain function and creativity, these foods contain catechines, flavonoids, phenols and theobromine, which are very healthy to the heart and blood vessels.

Daily Dish Fact: In 2010, an estimated 785,000 Americans had a new coronary attack, and about 470,000 had a recurrent attack. About every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event, and about one every minute will die from one.

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