Taking Care of Your Ticker, Part I

Each heart beat is a signal for our bodies to keep going. For our heart to continue working for us, we need to take care of it. One of the easiest ways to start caring for your cardiovascular health is by eating heart-healthy foods. Here are a few foods to incorporate into your diet everyday.

Almonds

Almonds are one of the best sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These are healthy fats found in food that help lower bad cholesterol and promote good cholesterol. If too much of the harmful cholesterol (usually found in red meat and full-fat dairy products) is consumed, it can start to form plaque build-ups throughout your arteries. When these build-ups break-off they can cause heart attacks or strokes. Eating almonds is a great way to take action in preventing these heart problems. They are a filling snack, loaded with healthy fats that can be eaten everyday to protect your heart.

Flaxseed

Flaxseeds are small, but mighty when it comes to protecting your heart. Flaxseed contains Omega 3 fatty acids, another form of the healthy fats that may prevent blood clotting. They also contain lignans, an antioxidant, that can help fight off free radicals in your body and protect your cells. This powerful antioxidant is abundant in flaxseed and may fend off diseases that affect the heart. The best part about flaxseed is it’s easy to add into meals. Try stirring it in with oatmeal (another heart-healthy option) and you won’t even know it’s there!

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is much more than just a warm bowl of comfort in the morning. It has an abundance of fiber that is helpful in maintaining weight. Being overweight can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even diabetes. These consequences of obesity can affect your heart immediately and may lead to more severe issues like heart disease. If you have a busy schedule, purchase instant oatmeal. It is ready in a few minutes and sends you on your way full of nutrients.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes contain potassium that may help lower blood pressure which is essential in maintaining heart health. High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) can cause hardening of the arteries. The heart can also have a difficult time keeping up with the increased pressure. This can interfere with the normal blood flow to and from the heart and may lead to heart attacks. Eating tomatoes is a smart way to take immediate action in preventing hypertension. An easy and delicious way I get tomatoes in my diet is by making homemade salsa.

I chose these four foods to discuss because they all taste great and can be added in meals everyday. If you give your heart what it needs, it will pay you back in many ways!

There is more heart healthy information on it’s way so keep an eye out for Taking Care of Your Ticker, Part 2!!!

Other Sites

Almonds:

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/FatsAndOils/Fats101/Polyunsaturated-Fats_UCM_301461_Article.jsp

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/FatsAndOils/Fats101/Monounsaturated-Fats_UCM_301460_Article.jsp

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-full-story/

Flaxseed:

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/benefits-of-flaxseed

Oatmeal:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fiber/NU00033

http://www.livestrong.com/article/384212-is-oatmeal-a-good-heart-healthy-breakfast/

http://weightloss.about.com/od/obesityhealth/a/heartdisease.htm

http://www.silverplanet.com/health/nutrition/recipe-doctor/oats-still-good-heart/whats-oats/2993

Tomatoes:

http://www.tomatodirt.com/tomato-facts-health-benefits.html

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-blood-pressure/HI00062

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