Don’t Forget These Nutrients For A Healthy Heart
We hear the buzz phrase “heart healthy” all the time. But what does that really mean? We know plant-based foods such as fruits, veggies, beans, and seeds are good for our heart, but what else? Let’s talk about those forgotten nutrients that are super important to a healthy heart.
Why? According to the National Institutes of Health, increasing one’s fiber intake has been associated with a significantly lower risk for developing coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. Consuming an adequate amount of fiber also help regulate your digestive system, so you’ll feel less bloating and stomach pain throughout the day. Make sure to drink enough water as you increase your fiber intake!
Foods to Choose: bran, beans, berries, greens, and whole grains
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Why? Omega-3’s are important for various functions in the body, including muscle activity, blood clotting, digestion, fertility, and so much more. Research has shown that omega-3’s are especially heart healthy because they help to decrease inflammation, which may lead to heart disease and stroke. While you can find omega-3’s in fatty fish, such as tuna, salmon, and catfish, if you are not a fish eater you still have other options, including nuts and seeds.
Foods to Choose: flaxseed, walnuts, chia seeds, soybeans, and spinach
Why? Folate is most well-known for the importance during pregnancy, but also has a big role in heart health. Folate may reduce your risk for heart attack because it improves your arterial elasticity (hardening of this can cause a loss in blood flow to the heart). Folate also works closely with other nutrients to ensure proper metabolism function, so it’s essential that we get enough!
Foods to Choose: dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, beans, peas, and lentils
Why? Proper hydration is essential for all functions of the body, from preventing fatigue, ensuring proper sodium-potassium balance, and keeping us alert and energized. It’s important for heart health as well because drinking adequate amounts of water each day usually means you’re not drinking as many sugar-filled sodas or juices that can lead to weight gain and other health complications.
Drinks to Choose: water (of course), but if you don’t love it plain, try it infused with berries, cucumbers, mint, or whatever extra fruits you have on hand!
Your heart is one of the most important organs in your body, and many foods aid in its health. By incorporating these nutrient dense foods, over time you can improve your heart health and set yourself up for longer term wellness.