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5 Heart-Healthy Foods for Everyday Meals

February 16, 2016

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Before you reach for that box of Oreos or get that burger at lunchtime, take a moment to think about the consequences they have on your body. Sure, short-term you’ll feel satisfied by the sweet or salty goodness, but then it will sink in that the saturated fats you’ve ingested do a lot more than make you tired. In the long-term, high-fat food can lead to depression and heart disease, the leading cause of death among Americans.

Keeping your heart healthy now can allow you to enjoy life’s big moments, like a child’s college graduation or a best friend’s retirement party. What you put into your body has a huge impact on your heart.

Here are five heart-healthy foods that could help improve your quality of life.

1. Chickpeas

Also known as the mighty garbanzo bean, chickpeas are all-around tasty and have been known to lower cholesterol in adults. High cholesterol can lead to buildup in the arteries. If you’re new to chickpeas or are eager to try them a different way, here is a recipe from thekitchn.com that will expand your chickpea horizons.

2. Salmon

Salmon and other fish are known to lower the risk of coronary heart disease through the omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon helps reduce the chance of getting blood clots because it lowers the levels of triglycerides. If you ever feel like you’re running out of options for cooking salmon, here is a refreshing take on the fish to try.

3. Blackberries

Blackberries are just one type of a whole variety that are healthy on the heart. Blackberries are loaded with polyphenols, which are believed to also help lower the risk of heart disease. If you’re looking for a sweet treat, try adding some blackberries and granola to plain yogurt. This also can be a great breakfast option.

4. Dark Chocolate

Your typical candy bar or Oreos will not provide the benefits dark chocolate has to offer. So before you raid the grocery store, be sure to pick up dark chocolate that is at least 70 percent cocoa. The flavonoids in chocolate are said to have reparative qualities. One way to enjoy dark chocolate is to make an organic pudding.

5. High Fiber Cereal

Cereals high in fiber, like oatmeal, those with high bran content or shredded wheat, can lower your cholesterol which can prevent buildup in the arteries. These cereals absorb the cholesterol and prevents it from affecting the bloodstream. Take a look at these 10 inventive oatmeal recipes to wake up your taste buds.

These are a just a few among many heart-healthy foods that can help you treat a sweet tooth, or maybe just look forward to your next dinner. Along with exercise, a clean diet is important to maintaining consistent heart health. Don’t let yourself be healthy just this month—push yourself forward to the next month and the next until it is routine.

If you or someone you know is at risk of having a heart attack, be sure to know the signs and seek emergency if necessary.

Your heart isn’t the only part of your body that benefits from healthy eating, though it can be hard to commit to healthy eating when you’re busy. Download our free guide for tips on eating healthy with a busy schedule.

Ideas for a week's worth of healthy meals.