The adage goes, “Your body is the most expensive thing you’ll ever own.” Hard to argue with that one, and yet, so many Americans are plagued, by the millions, with heart disease. And providing your body with the proper nutrients it deserves isn’t just about slimming down and looking fit – it’s about maintaining a healthy heart too.

So how does one start to put their heart at the top of the priority list? It starts with a healthy diet, naturally. And it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience. A few tweaks and minor introductions go a long way to establishing good eating practices. After some time, hopefully, these healthy-heart ingredients will become core items of your day-to-day diet.

 

Avocados:

Famous nowadays for being “the good kind of fat”, avocados aren’t just delicious, they have so many health benefits attached. They help stabilize insulin levels, a win for anyone with type 2 diabetes and they help eliminate “bad cholesterol,” while keeping your “good cholesterol” in check.

Oats and Barley:

Oats and barley are rich in “beta-glucans”, fibers that bind to cholesterol before it can be absorbed into the system. For that matter, oats and barley are essential breakfast additions, in particular for anyone battling high cholesterol. Seaweed, baker’s yeast, including some mushrooms (shiitake and reishi, for example) are valuable supplemental sources for beta-glucans.

Dark Leafy Greens:

Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium. It’s all there in those hearty dark greens like collards, Swiss chard, kale, spinach. Combined, these three allow for better blood flow, reducing blood pressure. Dark leafy greens are also rich in Vitamins A, C, E, and K.

Salmon:

Salmon is exceptionally rich in omega-3 and long-chain omega-3s, all of which are very beneficial for heart health. Long-chain omega-3’s have been shown to help the heart stay in rhythm while keeping blood vessels healthy and are great sources for reducing inflammation.

Nuts and Seeds:

Left unsalted, seeds and nuts are packed with potassium and magnesium, which you know now, reduces blood pressure.

Olive Oil:

Monounsaturated fats, like olive oil, when incorporated into the diet, can help reduce blood pressure, plus increase brain function and lower risks for breast cancer.

Legumes:

Lentils, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, etc – they’re all part of the legume family, and with their levels of soluble fiber, are essential for lowering triglyceride levels in the bloodstream. They’re also packed with magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, iron, B vitamins, have no cholesterol and have about 3% fat.

 

Do you already enjoy dishes made with any of these ingredients? Great!

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