Tuesday, January 12, 2010

American Heart Month!

As you may know, February is American Heart Month. Research shows that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Even more alarming is the rising rate of children with high cholesterol. Not a good foundation for heart health as adults...

So I wanted to pass along the below info that yes, pertains to heart health, but also is just good ol' common sense! I will sometimes use these lists to not only piece together meals for my kids, but for my husband as well who battles high blood pressure....

Products high in soluble fiber have been associated with increased diet quality and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • black or kidney beans
  • brown rice
  • sweet potatoes (an excellent source of vitamins A and C which are high in antioxidants)

Protein, which is high in essential omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins are necessary for our survival.
  • almonds
  • salmon
  • tofu
  • tuna
  • walnuts (preferably black walnuts)

Just like many fruits, veggies contain lots of vitamins, minerals and fiber which aid in lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke. Try the following veggies to keep a strong healthy heart:
  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • carrots
  • red bell peppers
  • spinach

Fruit contains lots of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Their flavonoids stregthen blood vessels and are strong antioxidants. Some also have a great effect on lowering your cholesterol levels. These fruits are know to be the best for your heart:
  • apples
  • avocados (yes considered a fruit)
  • bananas
  • blueberries
  • tomatoes

Oats are nourishing whole grains and an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and cholesterol-lowering fiber. Studies suggest that a diet high in oats can reduce the risk for heart disease and lower cholesterol levels.
  • oatmeal
  • whole-grain bread (100%- look for the little yellow label that signifies this)

Below are some that are rich in antioxidants which contribute to lowering cholesterol levels.
  • A glass of red wine can improve "good" HDL cholesterol.
  • Soy milk can lower triglycerides, which help prevent cardiovascular disease and keep your heart strong and healthy.
  • Tea (black or green) is rich in a certain antioxidant that can protect the artery wall against damage that causes heart disease and prevents formation of sticky blood clots.

It can be good for your heart!
  • Olive oil lowers bad cholesterol levels and increases the good cholesterol levels.
- Southern Savvy, February/March 2009