I have compiled a list of 7 foods that are really good for your heart and help prevent heart disease. Yes, dark chocolate made the list! I've always known in my heart that chocolate was good for me!
Since I suffer from arrhythmia, Salmon is good for me because it has been shown to prevent erratic heart rhythms. It also improves cholesterol ratios and lowers blood pressure. You should eat this a couple of times each week. Grilled salmon with grilled asparagus is my personal favorite.
There are so many kinds of beans! In general, I love beans, but there is one that I refuse to eat. I think black-eyed peas taste like little bags of dirt, so I will never eat them (not even as part of New Year’s tradition; sorry Grandma, my Southern roots can only take me so far). But the health benefits of beans are great.
· High in fiber-will make you feel full and help lower cholesterol
· Potassium-keeps the heart muscle strong and regular
· Folate-this is a B vitamin and it breaks down certain amino acids that increase the risk of heart disease
Beans are really versatile. They work in things, like soup and salad, or as stand-alone dishes. I once ate pinto bean cookies! Yes, you can grind the dry beans and replace part of the flour with the bean flour and it tastes great! You should eat them several times a week. So explore this marvelous food in its many varieties.
And you felt guilty for eating jams and ice cream toppings, not anymore! Besides being a great treat, they are good for your heart. These little gems can prevent cell damage because they are full of polyphenols. We have a new old saying, “A strawberry, blueberry, and boysenberry a day keeps the doctor away.” How? Berries can help your body fight diseases with their natural antioxidants. You can add them to so many things; cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, salad, or eat them alone for a snack.
Mom was right. Turns out oatmeal is good for you. It’s full of vitamins and minerals that are good for your heart. Also, it is a great source of fiber and since it’s a whole grain, it helps lower your cholesterol. It’s good for your digestive system and can help protect against some cancers. We always think of it as a breakfast food, but my family likes it as a dessert too. Try this, a scoop of warm oatmeal with a scoop of ice cream on top…mmmm. I’m kind of sneaky and throw a handful of oatmeal into many main dishes when no one is looking. For example, two cups of dry oatmeal added to a meatloaf makes it much healthier.
5. Skim Milk
We know milk has calcium and that calcium is good for your bones and teeth, but did you know that it can help lower your blood pressure? It’s also good for your arteries. Whatever source of calcium you choose, make sure you are getting enough, it doesn’t all have to come from skim milk, but a glass a day is a really good idea to get you started.
Mom was right again. It seems veggies contain carotenoids and flavonoids, both good for your heart. Eat them as fresh as you can, sauté them instead of boiling them until they turn into sludge. The fresher the better. They can be side dishes or main dishes. Check out your local farmer’s market for inspiration.
7. Dark Chocolate
Hurray! I just knew it had to be good for my heart! This time I was right and Mom was wrong, dark chocolate contains antioxidants. It protects us from free radicals (those crazy atoms, molecules and ions that go bezerk in our bodies and cause all kinds of problems). Dark chocolate also lowers our risk of having a heart attack. Somehow I knew that, but having modern science verify it gives me the justification I need to indulge! But don’t get carried away, one square of dark chocolate each day is supposed to be enough. So, dip a berry in chocolate and enjoy a healthier heart!