by Kerry Smith, founder of GrannyOWL
February marks heart health month so it is a great time to learn more about how important good heart health is and take the necessary steps towards a healthier lifestyle. Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women?
As women, we tend to put others ahead of ourselves. But if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t take care of everyone else around us. If you don’t make your health a priority, who will?
How about adding some of these foods for a heart-healthy lifestyle.
1. Eat fish high in omega-3s, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and trout.
2. Nuts such as almonds or walnuts will satisfy your hunger and help your heart.
3. Berries are chock full of heart-healthy phytonutrients and soluble fiber. Try blueberries, strawberries, cranberries or raspberries in smoothies or with your oatmeal.
4. Flaxseeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and phytoestogens to boost heart health. Take them in ground or milled form to reap the greatest benefit.
5. Oatmeal: the comfort-food nutrient powerhouse.
6. Dark beans, such as kidney or black beans, are high in fiber, B-vitamins, minerals and other good stuff. Veggie chili, anyone? (Click here for the recipe)
7. A 4-ounce glass of red wine (up to two for men and one for women per day) can help improve good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Who doesn’t like that??
8. Try marinated tofu in a stir-fry with fresh veggies for a heart-healthy lunch or dinner.
9. Red, yellow and orange veggies such as carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers and acorn squash are packed with carotenoids, fiber and vitamins to help your heart.
10. Popeye was right – spinach packs a punch! Use it in sandwiches and salads instead of lettuce.
11. Fruits such as oranges, cantaloupes and papaya are rich in beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium and fiber.
12. Tender, sweet asparagus is filled with mighty nutrients such as beta-carotene, folate and fiber, and only provide 25 calories per cup, or 5 calories per large spear.
13. Tomatoes – even sun-dried varieties in winter months – provide lycopene, vitamin C and alpha- and beta-carotene.
14. Crisp, fresh broccoli florets dipped in hummus are a terrific heart-healthy snack with a whopping list of nutrients, including vitamins C and E, potassium, folate, calcium and fiber.
15. Dark chocolate is good for your heart health, just be sure that it’s at least 70 percent cocoa.
Just a few simple changes in diet and lifestyle could be the difference between life or death. Why take the risk? Make some healthy wholesome lifestyle changes today.