According to the American Heart Association, heart disease accounts for 1 in 7 deaths in the United States. Encourage your loved ones to eat smart for their heart: Getting in more fruits and veggies is clearly a good choice, but these eight foods should be on your radar as well.
There’s a whole lot of nutrition packed into these tiny seeds. Take advantage of their vast amounts of protein, fiber and Omega-3 fats by adding them to smoothies and baked goods, and making chia pudding.
- Learn more about the benefits of Omega-3 fats.
Natural Peanut Butter
Rich in both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, decadent peanut butter is a treat for your heart. Spread it on apples, whole-grain breads and crackers, and whisk it into salad dressings. Stick with natural brands to avoid extra unhealthy fat from additives like palm oil.
You may have learned eggs are a no-no for a healthy heart, but this is far from the truth. Both egg whites and yolks are filled with protein, plus the yolks serve up healthy fats and antioxidants to help keep your ticker going strong.
A versatile and affordable source of Omega-3 fats, tuna is also high in protein to help keep you satisfied. Enjoy tuna for lunch and feel energized all afternoon.
You’ve probably seen the commercials, but it’s not just oat cereal that can help lower cholesterol. All sources of oats, including breads, oat bran and a good old bowl of oatmeal, offer soluble fiber to help protect your heart.
Potassium is a vital mineral for heart muscle function. One cup of coconut water contains about 500 milligrams — that’s more than there is in a banana! Add coconut water to smoothies, or use it as a cooking liquid for rice and quinoa.
Like eggs, shellfish have gotten a bad reputation when it comes to heart health. Shrimp, oysters and other edible crustaceans are low in calories and fat, plus offer minerals and Omega-3s to promote healthy circulation.
Yes, you can include red meat in a heart-healthy diet. Choose lean cuts of beef, including tenderloin, strip steak and 93% lean ground beef for plenty of protein, iron and vitamin B12 for healthy red blood cells. If you prefer grass-fed beef, there’s an added bonus: a higher amount of Omega-3 fats.
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.