Heart disease is the number one cause of death for American women and as we age it becomes even more important to seek out foods that keep the heart healthy and happy. Here are a few excellent choices to add to your favorite recipe:
Leafy greens like collards, spinach and kale are packed with vitamins and fiber but are also surprisingly low in calories. They are also incredibly versatile. Greens can be eaten raw in a salad or cooked into your favorite pasta or soup. About two cups of greens are recommended to eat daily.
Eating whole grains has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. Unlike refined grains, like those found in most processed bread products, whole grains contain the full outer and inner layer of the grain kernel, where the fiber, antioxidants and vitamins live. Examples of whole grains include oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice, millet and barley. With so many options for whole grains, it’s easy to find one or two you like to work into your daily consumption.
Berries make a delicious addition to almost any meal and have been shown to improve blood sugar and insulin levels. Berries are also loaded with antioxidants which will help keep you healthy and fight off disease.
Avocados are good for your heart, eyes, blood pressure and weight loss. They are loaded with fiber and potassium and can help lower cholesterol. Avocados go great with a salad or on toast and are also a tasty option for healthier brownies or ice cream.
Beans are an excellent source of protein, are low in fat and are often budget friendly as well. Beans are packed with fiber and other nutrients that will leave you feeling fuller for longer.
Even those with a sweet tooth can make simple adjustments to be heart healthy. Dark chocolate is an excellent source of antioxidants and could improve brain function. Be careful not to take in too much of a good thing. Dark chocolate can still be high in calories.
The most important thing to keeping your hearty healthy is eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise. Making smart health choices will keep your medical costs down and your body going strong!
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