Protect Your Heart: Heart Healthy Foods
We all know that exercise can help strengthen and protect your heart. Diet plays a big role in heart health too. The foods you eat provide the fuel that your body needs to perform daily activities and fitness goals too. Not all foods are equal in nutrition. The following foods have been favored by health conscious individuals for their heart healthy attributes:
- Apples of any variety are hailed for their antioxidants. Apples are also high in fiber which contributes to lowering LDL cholesterol.
- Green tea has high levels of flavonoids and can help reduce blood clots
- Blueberries and other colorful berries are high in antioxidants and can help lower the risk of heart disease. Berries are easy to enjoy on their own or can easily be mixed into salads, smoothies, and cereals.
- Oatmeal is also a heart healthy food as long as you use the kind that is plain and unprocessed. The flavored and processed kinds are full of sugar and preservatives that will not contribute to heart health. Steel cut oatmeal is also a heart health variety.
- Whole grain food choices can help regulate cholesterol too. Select varieties that are low in sugar.
- Dark chocolate can also have heart healthy benefits as long as you select a variety that has at least 70% cocoa. Dark chocolate has been linked to lowering blood pressures and also helping to increase blood flow.
- Soy milk is naturally low in fat. The isoflavones found in soy milk can help reduce cholesterol
- Broccoli is low in cholesterol and high in fiber making it a great choice for heart health. The bright green color is an indicator as a good source of antioxidants as well.
The foods above are just a sample of foods that have shown to have benefits on heart health. Generally speaking, you will want to look for foods that are low in cholesterol, high in fiber, and include fruits and vegetables that are rich in colors. A nutritionist or sports nutritionist can help you make more specific choices based on your personal dietary needs or sports goals.
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