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Plant-Based Foods for Heart Health

By Sara Butler

Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans today, so it makes sense to take steps to care for your heart and do things that benefit your cardiovascular health. One of the most important things you can do is eat right! That doesn’t mean simply counting calories, though. What it means is choosing foods that have an impact on the heart through reduced blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Luckily, there are a number of delicious, affordable, and accessible foods that are easy to incorporate into a heart healthy diet of your very own. Here are a few plant-based options to get you started!

The Ideal Heart-Healthy Diet

A heart healthy diet is low in sugar, fat, and red meat. It emphasizes whole grains, low-fat dairy, poultry, fish, nuts, vegetables, and fruits. It will help you to maintain a healthy weight in conjunction with regular exercise and lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking.

Increasing the number of fresh vegetables and fruits in your diet helps to:

  • Protect your heart
  • Fend off disease

The nutrients found in vegetables and fruits are high in flavonoids, a nutrient found only in plants that help to keep blood pressure in check and protect the heart.

Food for Your Heart

If you’re looking to protect your heart through food, then add a few of these options to your diet:

  • Walnuts – These make a crunchy and flavorful snack, but that’s not all! They are full of healthy fats that help to reduce your risk of heart disease by reducing bad cholesterol levels and raising good cholesterol levels. They also have fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and Vitamin E.
  • Berries – Berries are delicious and pair with a lot of different foods. They also happen to be full of Vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants that help to protect the cells in your body from the oxidative damage of free radicals.
  • Chia seeds – Chia seeds have become popular over the last couple of years because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help to reduce bad cholesterol levels and prevent the buildup of plaque on the walls of the arteries. Add them to oatmeal, cereal, and smoothies.
  • Legumes – Foods such as lentils and chickpeas are incredibly good for your heart. They are full of fiber that is easy for your body to digest and help to lower cholesterol levels. Just make sure that when you buy canned beans you purchase the low sodium variety and rinse them to remove excess salt.

These tips will help you to protect your heart and eat healthier!

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Glenview, Ill.

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