February is American Heart health month, but that doesn’t mean we can’t all benefit from looking after our hearts with healthy lifestyle and eating habits. So what foods are good for your heart?
- Oatmeal – good for the heart as it’s rich in soluble fibre which has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels as well as containing magnesium and potassium.
- Bananas are rich in potassium as well as other vitamins and minerals, as well as being relatively low calorie and high fibre.
- Beans, lentils and split peas contain cholesterol-lowering soluble fibre. use them in soups which will help keep you feeling full for longer.
- Unsalted mixed nuts – in particular, walnuts, almonds and macadamia nuts – contain unsaturated fats and make a healthy snack, but be sure to watch your portion sizes – 1/4 cup – or one layer of your palm – is a good indicator.
- As we’ve said before, a colourful salad is not only low in calories but also provides an array of different nutrients. Try spinach for folate, tomatoes for lycopene and yellow peppers for vitamin C.
- If you want to add a dressing, choose one that’s olive oil based as this contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Think of the healthy mediterranean diet and take your lead from there!
- Another of our favourites – grilled salmon or char contain omega-3 fatty acids, another heart-healthy choice.
- Flaxseed is full of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, so is a great addition to breakfast cereals or salads for vegetarians and vegans.
- Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats, which can help lower levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad kind)
- Berries such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries have an anti-imflammatory effect which helps lower your risk of heart disease.
- Something else we’ve mentioned before – dark chocolate contains flavenoids, which may reduce the risk of heart disease. A small square (or two!) of dark chocolate is more than an indulgence – it can actually do you good!