Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What's In Your Diet Wednesday? - 10 Best Foods For Your Heart

We all strive to eat right, excercise and get plenty of rest.....Well at least we think about striving for those goals.  Personally I work hard on the first two items.....but never can achieve the "plenty of rest" part of the equation.

It's not that I don't desperately want more rest to go along with the excercise and good food.  I just haven't figured out how to accomplish it with work, kids and all of the other things that go along with life as I know it.

For those of you that would like some pointers for your diet....especially those who are sticking with your New Year's resolutions....(congratulations!) here are some great tips from Yahoo.....
The 10 best foods for your heart
by, on Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:09am PST

Take heart with berries, beans, and other healthy fare.

Start your day with a steaming bowl of oats, which are full of omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. This fiber-rich superfood can lower levels of LDL (or bad) cholesterol and help keep arteries clear.

Opt for coarse or steel-cut oats over instant varieties—which contain more fiber—and top your bowl off with a banana for another 4 grams of fiber.

Super-rich in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon can effectively reduce blood pressure and keep clotting at bay. Aim for two servings per week, which may reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack by up to one-third.

"Salmon contains the carotenoid astaxanthin, which is a very powerful antioxidant," says cardiologist  Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, the author of Lower Your Blood Pressure In Eight Weeks. But be sure to choose wild salmon over farm-raised fish, which can be packed with insecticides, pesticides, and heavy metals.

Not a fan of salmon? Other oily fish like mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines will give your heart the same boost.

Add a bit of avocado to a sandwich or spinach salad to up the amount of heart-healthy fats in your diet. Packed with monounsaturated fat, avocados can help lower LDL levels while raising the amount of HDL cholesterol in your body.

"Avocados are awesome," says Dr. Sinatra. "They allow for the absorption of other carotenoids—especially beta-carotene and lycopene—which are essential for heart health.

Olive oilFull of monounsaturated fats, olive oil lowers bad LDL cholesterol and reduces your risk of developing heart disease.

Results from the Seven Countries Study, which looked at cardiovascular disease incidences across the globe, showed that while men in Crete had a predisposition for high cholesterol levels, relatively few died of heart disease because their diet focused on heart-healthy fats found in olive oil. Look for extra-virgin or virgin varieties—they're the least processed—and use them instead of butter when cooking.

NutsWalnuts are full of omega-3 fatty acids and, along with almonds and macadamia nuts, are loaded with mono- and polyunsaturated fat. Plus, nuts increase fiber in the diet, says Dr. Sinatra. "And like olive oil, they are a great source of healthy fat."

BerriesBlueberries, raspberries, strawberries—whatever berry you like best—are full of anti-inflammatories, which reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.

"Blackberries and blueberries are especially great," says Sinatra. "But all berries are great for your vascular health."

Fill up on fiber with lentils, chickpeas, and black and kidney beans. They're packed with omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and soluble fiber.

Spinach can help keep your ticker in top shape thanks to its stores of lutein, folate, potassium, and fiber.

But upping your servings of any veggies is sure to give your heart a boost.  The Physicians' Health Study examined more than 15,000 men without heart disease for a period of 12 years. Those who ate at least two-and-a-half servings of vegetables each day cut their risk of heart disease by about 25%, compared with those who didn't eat the veggies. Each additional serving reduced risk by another 17%.

Flaxseed Full of fiber and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, a little sprinkling of flaxseed can go a long way for your heart. Top a bowl of oatmeal or whole-grain cereal with a smidgen of ground flaxseed for the ultimate heart-healthy breakfast.

SoySoy may lower cholesterol, and since it is low in saturated fat, it's still a great source of lean protein in a heart-healthy diet.

Look for natural sources of soy, like edamame, tempeh, or organic silken tofu. And soy milk is a great addition to a bowl of oatmeal or whole-grain cereal. But watch the amount of salt in your soy: some processed varieties like soy dogs can contain added sodium, which boosts blood pressure.
What do you do to improve your heart healthy diet??  Or your diet in general...although any healthy foods in your diet are going to affect your whole body...including your heart.  Tell us in the comments....


Belinda @zomppa said...

Great to be connected via Hearth & Soul! I just had my physical earlier this month and making an effort to do more heart-healthy foods and this is a great list to make sure I'm on track. Thanks for the RT!

scrambledhenfruit said...

Great list! Hubby had a heart attack this fall, so we're very familiar with all of these foods. :) The "plenty of rest" part of the equation is our downfall too, but we're working on it!

Kankana said...

That's a great post. I eat most of the items from the list except the soy.. bleh!! nahh not a fan .. :)

Alexis AKA MOM said...

Some of my favorites :). thank you so much for stopping by.