I hope your week got off to a great start! Today is the first nutrition post for the #HealthyHeartChallenge. Eating a well rounded diet is important for proper immune function, brain power, and overall health. In this post, we’re going to look at a few specific foods that are healthy for your heart and the key nutrients these foods contain.
Berries: Vitamin C, folate, manganese, potassium, and fiber
Apples: Vitamin C, fiber, and flavonoids which have antioxidant like properties
Bananas: Vitamins B6 & C, manganese, potassium, fiber, copper, and biotin
Highlighted Nutrient: Vitamin C
- Prevents coronary artery disease by enhancing the body’s level of natural glutathione, a potent free radical scavenger that protects the arteries.
- Strengthens the blood vessel walls by enabling the synthesis of collagen in the connective tissue of the arterial walls.
- Improves vasodilation, which is the ability of the heart’s arteries to widen when more blood is needed—a key factor in preventing heart disease.
Broccoli: Vitamins B6, C, E, & K, folate, and fiber
Spinach: Vitamins K & A, folate, magnesium, iron, and fiber
Kale: Vitamins A, C, & K, and fiber
Highlighted Nutrient: Folic Acid
- Effectively lowers levels of an amino acid in the blood called homocysteine. In recent years, a growing body of evidence has suggested that higher than normal levels of homocysteine levels are an independent risk factor for heart disease and can lead to dangerous blood clots and hardening of the arteries.
By increasing folic acid intake and thus decreasing homocysteine, the researchers say the risk of heart disease would drop by 16%, blood clots in the legs by 25%, and stroke by 24%.
GRAINS & LEGUMES
Quinoa: Fiber, zinc, phosphorus, a complete protein
Oats: Soluble fiber, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc
Dried Beans: Vitamins B1 and B6, folate, protein, soluble fiber, niacin, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids
Highlighted Nutrient: Magnesium
- Regulates heart rhythm by coordinating the activity of the heart muscle and the nerves that initiate the heartbeat. If your magnesium levels are low, you are more likely to be at risk for arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) and heart palpitations.
- Prevents angina through helping keep coronary arteries from having spasms, which is what causes the intense chest pain known as angina.
NUTS AND SEEDS
Walnuts: Plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, copper, protein, and fiber
Almonds: Vitamin E, copper, magnesium, fiber, and protein
Ground Flaxseed: Plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fiber, and B1
Highlighted Nutrient: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Lower triglyceride levels.
- Lower the growth rate of plaque that clogs blood vessels.
- Help prevent inflammation of the blood vessels and formation of blood clots.
Many people that switch to a plant-based diet see a reduction in heart related illness to the point of being cleared to stop taking their medication. I believe our bodies work most issues out on their own when we fuel them properly (with foods we were designed to eat), hydrate, exercise, and allow them to recover over time. Adding more heart healthy foods to your diet might be exactly what you need!
I challenge you to add one new heart healthy food (or any fruit/veggie) to your diet each week this month. It’s time for us to take responsibility for our health! Don’t forget to tag me & use the hashtags #lifexerin and #HealthyHeartChallenge to let The Tribe see all of the heart healthy goodness you’ve got going on!
P.S. Always consult your doctor before making changes in your diet and exercise routine.