February is American Heart Month! Keeping your heart healthy and strong is crucial to staying healthy as you age. One way to do this is to eat heart healthy foods, here are some of the foods you should be eating:
Yogurt has been known to help protect against gum disease. This is beneficial because gum disease can elevate a person’s risk of heart disease,
- Salmon/ oily fish
Oily fish contain Omega 3 fatty acids, which lower levels of triglycerides that can increase the risk of blood clotting. Omega 3 fats also lower blood pressure.
Research has shown that raisins contain an antioxidant that helps fight the growth of bacteria that can cause gun disease. People with gum disease are twice as likely to develop heart problems.
- Whole grains
Whole grains have antioxidants, phytoestrogens and phytosterols that are protective against coronary disease. They are also chock full of fiber, which as been linked to lowering risk of heart disease.
Beans contain soluble fiber, which helps bind cholesterol and keeps it from getting absorbed. Beans also have variety of heart-protective chemicals, including flavonoids, compounds also found in wine, berries and chocolate, which inhibit the adhesion of platelets in the blood, which can help lower risk for heart attack and strokes.
Nuts are full of vitamins, minerals, heart healthy monounsaturated fats, and lower levels of saturated fats.
- Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is rich in flavanols, which can benefit cardiovascular health.
Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, fiber and lycopene. Lycopene works with other vitamins and minerals to aid in disease prevention.
Apples contain antioxidant flavonoid compounds that play a key role in reducing bad, LDL, cholesterol. Apples are also a great source of pectin, which lowers cholesterol.
Eating a blend of berries provides the body with a variety of antioxidants. Easting berries daily has been associated with increased level of good, HDL, cholesterol.
Pomegranates are loaded with polyphenols, including anthocyanins and tannins. This power punch of antioxidants has been known to help reduce plaque buildup in the arteries and lower blood pressure.
One banana has about 12% of your daily dose of potassium. Potassium helps maintain normal heart function and balances the levels of sodium and water in the body. Because bananas help the kidneys reduce extra sodium, they also help regulate blood pressure.
Popcorn has an antioxidant called polyphenols, which is linked to improving heart health. Popcorn has three times more polyphenols than kidney beans and four times more than cranberries. Popcorn is also a whole grain, and people who eat whole grains tend to be at lower risk for heart disease.
- Green tea
Researchers have found that people who drink 12 ounces of tea a day are half as likely to have a heart attack as non-tea drinkers. Green tea has an antioxidant called catechins. This antioxidant hinders the body’s inflammatory response to the bacteria that cause gum disease. People with gum disease are twice as likely to have heart problems.
- Red wine
Red wine raises good, HDL, cholesterol, which deceases inflammation and thins blood (decreased risk of blood clots and stroke). Moderate drinking can also help raise estrogen, which can be helpful to postmenopausal women whose reduced estrogen levels increase risk of heart disease.