When we contemplate eating healthfully, we usually think about the types of foods to avoid – things like saturated fats, refined carbohydrates, sodium, added sugars, etc. As part of Nationals Men’s Health Month, we are excited to celebrate all the amazing foods and beverages that are both delicious and healthy – and are especially good for your heart.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the US, and one way to help lower your risk is by eating well daily. Making changes in your diet to consume more heart-healthy foods and fewer unhealthy foods can be easier when you enjoy these tasty options:
Salmon and other fish rich in omega-3 fats – Try to eat at least eight ounces of salmon and other fish like tuna and trout each week. These types of fish contain high amounts of omega-3s, which have an anti-clotting benefit to keep your blood flowing and can lower your triglycerides.
Other examples of heart-healthy foods include:
1.) Walnuts – like salmon, walnuts, along with other nuts like almonds and cashews, are high in omega-3 fats and can improve your cholesterol levels. Eat five ounces each week for a heart-heathy snack or use as a salad topping
2.) Berries – Raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, and strawberries are all high in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C, which can help lower your risk of stroke.
3.) Oatmeal – Start your day with a hearty bowl of oatmeal, which is loaded with soluble fiber that can help reduce heart disease and improve cholesterol.
4.) Fruits and vegetables – You can’t go wrong with a diet high in fruits and vegetables, but choosing spinach, tomatoes, asparagus, avocados, and broccoli will deliver nutrients that are great for your heart health. Fruits like oranges and cantaloupes are also high in fiber and nutrient rich.
5.) Coffee and green tea – Even that cup of joe you look forward to every morning can help decrease your risk of developing heart failure and stroke, when consumed in moderation. Green tea has been shown to help reduce high blood pressure, too.
6.) Red wine – When consumed in moderation, red wine, with its antioxidants, is a better choice for your heart than other alcoholic beverages and can improve good (HDL) cholesterol levels.
7.) Dark chocolate – Perhaps we’ve saved the best for last – and it’s the perfect dessert to end a heart-healthy meal. Dark chocolate, in moderation, has been shown to protect against atherosclerosis – a build-up of plaque inside the arteries.
We think these heart-healthy foods are winners for their taste and for their health value – and with all of these heart-healthy choices, it will be easy to observe National Men’s Health Month with great eating. For more ideas on how to incorporate heart-healthy choices into your diet, check out the American Heart Association’s “Healthy for Good” recipes at https://recipes.heart.org/.
Here’s to your health – and to great, heart-healthy food!
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