If you go to one of the many farmer’s markets in Brentwood, CA, you’ll find many foods that are good for your heart. Best of all, these are grown locally, often organic and fresh. One perfect example is fresh berries. Berries are chock full of polyphenols and antioxidants that help fight chronic disease. They also have soluble fiber and phytonutrients to strengthen the heart. Add some to your salad, use them to sweeten plain yogurt or just grab a handful as a snack.
Go nuts for nuts for a healthy heart.
We’re so lucky that 80% of the almonds produced are grown in California. That’s because almonds, just like walnuts, another nut grown in California, are super good for the heart. Nuts are high in protein, high in healthy fat and have other substances that keep your heart pumping strong. The healthy fat is unsaturated fat and Omega3 fatty acids. They contain fiber that lowers cholesterol, vitamin E-a plaque fighter for the arteries, L-arginine that makes your artery walls flexible and reduces the risk of clotting and plant sterols that lowers cholesterol. Seeds, like flaxseed, also have many of the same benefits.
Fresh vegetables are available all year in our area.
Whether you’re a fan of asparagus or simply love red peppers, you’ll be doing your heart a favor. Broccoli is great for all parts of your body and all systems. It has vitamins E and C, plus potassium, calcium, fiber and folate. Asparagus also contains folate and fiber, plus it has many other nutrients, including beta-carotene that the body turns into vitamin A.
Create inexpensive meals and get heart healthy at the same time with dark colored beans.
Garbanzo beans, lentils, kidney beans, crowder peas, navy beans and lentils are just a few of the beans that not only are a source of vegetarian protein, they’re also good for the heart. One study showed that people who ate beans at least four times a week had a 22 percent reduced risk for heart disease than those that ate them less than once a week. One reason is the soluble fiber in beans that binds the cholesterol. Another may be all the protective nutrients and phytochemicals in beans, many of which are also in berries and chocolate. The more beans you eat, the less like you will be to gas up and bloat.
- If you drink between a half cup and a cup of red wine every day, you lower your risk of heart disease. For those non-drinkers, grape juice is also good. They both boost good cholesterol levels. Whole grapes also have those benefits, plus they add fiber to your diet.
- Oatmeal is heart healthy, too. It lowers bad cholesterol and has heart healthy soluble fiber.
- Switch to fresh spinach instead of iceberg lettuce for your sandwiches. Fresh spinach contains high amounts of vitamin k, magnesium, carotenoids, magnesium, iron and fiber, plus so much more.
- Don’t forget to top your meal off with some yellow or orange fruit like papaya, cantaloupe or oranges. They have high amounts of beta-carotene, plus fiber, magnesium and potassium.