February is Heart Health Month! At HealthBarn USA we are all about sharing important information about living a healthy-lifestyle, so you too can make informed choices about the health and well-being of yourself and your loved ones! By eating the good stuff and being active you can make a big difference in how your “ticker” ticks! Here’s my top food picks to keep your heart healthy:
- Eat Fat: That’s right, what are you afraid of? Fat from seeds and oils (sunflower, pumpkin, flax, hemp, olives), nuts (almonds, walnuts), fish (salmon), fruit (avocado) gives us omega fatty acids that help reduce inflammation, makes us feel full and helps make food taste better! Go for it, but be sure to watch the serving size!
- Go Oats & Whole Grains: Oats are a soluble fiber which means they become “sticky” when digested and help reduce plague formed in your arteries. Oatmeal, oatmeal cookies, oat bran bread and oat-based cereals are heart healthy. My favorite whole grains are quinoa, millet and brown rice!
- Dark Leafy Green Veggies: You can really taste the good nutrition in the leaves of kale, collard greens and spinach. Simply steamed, juices or eaten as a fresh salad these choices are seriously heart protective!
- Pinch Sea Salt: Sea salt has less sodium than the regular table stuff and kosher salt, too! Plus it has the added benefits of minerals and makes food taste really good! Cook fresh using sea salt, and you will automatically be eating less sodium from all of the processed foods.
Load up on Berries! I love a mix of blueberries, strawberries and raspberries topped on my oatmeal for a serious boost of antioxidants to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.
- Yogurt: Loaded with probiotics, “the good bugs,” calcium and protein, this creamy fermented dairy treat is versatile and delicious!
- Dark Chocolate — YUM! Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants, too! Just bring the good stuff that comes in little squares and have a “square a day.”
- Sip Green Tea: Ease into the morning or late afternoon with a smooth green tea, my favorite is Yogi Pure Green Tea for the flavor and love notes!
BONUS: Give Some Love & Exercise Everyday: Smile at a stranger, open the door for someone, pet an animal and give a BIG huge to your peeps — it all helps to reduce stress (very heart protective!) and makes the world a happier place, too!
I hope these heart healthy foods become staples on your weekly grocery list! They taste delicious and are super good for YOU and your family!
What’s your favorite heart healthy food?
– Stacey Antine, MS, RD, author, Appetite for Life, founder, HealthBarn USA, co-host, Family Food Expert Internet Radio Show, and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA.