Happy Valentine’s Day!
On this day of overall indulgence in all things sweet and chocolate, I’d like to talk about some foods that contribute to keeping your heart in good health:
- Whole grains contain much more fiber than their refined counterparts, in addition to nutrients that help lower blood pressure and contribute to heart health. The role of fiber is too complex to fully discuss here, but suffice to say that dietary fiber has hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects. This means it can help with blood sugar control and can also lower cholesterol, factors that aid in the prevention of arteriosclerosis.
- My favorite heart-healthy whole grains: oats, quinoa, brown rice, and sprouted whole-grain bread.
- Similar to whole grains, berries are a great source of hearty fiber.
- Berries are a good source of polyphenols, of which special important are the flavonoids like anthocyanins. Polphenols are well-associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Berries are high in antioxidants, including many of the polyphenols as well as vitamin C.
- Important micronutrients found in berries are folic acid, manganese, calcium, selenium.
- My favorite berries: blackberries and raspberries, they are higher in fiber than the other berries and I love their flavor. But really all berries are great for heart-health.
- Fat is not the enemy. The key is to choose from a variety of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated healthy fats.
- Monounsaturated fats: canola oil and olive oil.
- Polyunsaturated fats: fish, avocados, nuts and seeds.
*Omega-3 Fatty Acids: fatty fish (salmon, sardines, anchoves), vegetable oils, green leafy veggies, flaxseeds, chia seeds. These fatty acids protect the heart by reducing inflammation and helping to lower blood pressure
This is not an exhaustive list and is not meant to replace the advice of a physician or registered dietitian.