Each February, the American Heart Association sponsors American Heart month which observes the national impact of heart disease and raises awareness of heart health. A recent report shows that heart disease is currently the leading cause of death for both men and women in America, causing 600,000 or 1 in every 4 deaths per year.

 

Thankfully, heart disease can be prevented. Healthy diet and lifestyle choices can significantly reduce your risk of developing heart disease in addition to improving your immunity and overall wellbeing. There is an abundance of heart healthy fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean meats that will keep your heart pumping strong well into your years. Start improving your heart health today with our list of the top 5 heart healthy foods.

 

1. Salmon. Fatty fish like salmon and sardines contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which are shown in studies to lower the risk of arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) and atherosclerosis (plaque build-up in the arteries). The American Heart Association recommends at least 2 servings a week for heart health.

 

2. Oatmeal. Start your day with a bowl of old-fashioned or quick-cooking oatmeal. It contains a soluble fiber called Beta glucans which reduces cholesterol levels by absorbing it in the digestive tract so it’s eliminated from the body.

 

3. Leafy Greens. Green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are super foods in terms of overall health. These are high in carotenoids which act as antioxidants and eliminate harmful free-radicals. They’re also high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals which all give a significant boost to heart health.

 

4. Tomatoes. Whether raw, sautéed, stewed, or in a sauce, tomatoes are an excellent choice to keep your heart in top shape. They contain heart healthy potassium and the antioxidant lycopene, a carotenoid. Studies show lycopene may help get rid of “bad” cholesterol, keep blood vessels open and lower heart attack risk.

 

5. Dark Chocolate. Good news, you no longer need to feel guilty about indulging in your sweet tooth. Chocolate contains flavonols, phytochemicals which may help blood pressure, clotting, inflammation and reduce heart disease risk. Remember this only applies to dark chocolate (made up of at least 60-70% cocoa) and that moderation is key.

 

Are there any heart healthy foods you love that are not included on our list? Share them with us!