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heart healthy eating

With Valentines Day just around the corner it’s time to get your heart into shape. While exercise is extremely important for maintaining a healthy heart, there are also a range of heart-healthy foods out there. 

 I’ve listed a few foods as an example, however it is also important to remember that when it comes to a persons diet – there generally is no such thing as “magic” food. By magic, I mean eating a few foods that will instantly make you a healthy person. A diet is impacted by all the foods you eat – and therefore eating a variety foods that are high in fibre, low in saturated fat, plenty of fruit and vegetables, whole grains and limiting salty, fatty and sugary foods will pave the way for an overall “heart-healthy” diet. That being said, there are a few nutrients that assist with maintaining a healthy heart, and those nutrients can be found in some of the foods mentioned below.

1)    Salmon

A freshly grilled piece of salmon works wonders for your heart. Its’ high omega-3 (an essential fatty acid) content assists with lowering blood pressure levels, widening (or dilating) blood vessels so that the blood travels smoothly around the body, reduces the risk of blood clotting and reduces the ‘bad’ fats in your blood. Other oily fish such as tuna and mackerel are also high in omega-3 fatty acids.

2)    Oatmeal/Porridge

Grab some raw oats, a pot of boiling water, some cinnamon, honey and a fresh green apple. Combine these ingredients for a heart-healthy breakfast. Oats are high in dietary fibre and beta-glucan,  both assist in lowering LDL- cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels. They also have virtually no salt, which means you don’t have to worry about an increased blood pressure. Like salmon, they contain omega-3 fatty acids and can help stabilize blood glucose levels because of their low GI ranking. The new barley and oats range from Goodness Superfoods actually offers you almost 100% of your daily beta glucan requirements (recommendations based on those found in other countries for heart health) plus all the benefits of the BARLEYmax for digestive health, so are a win win for everyone!

3)    Olive oil or spread

Olive oil or olive oil based spread, used in salads, cooking or as a spread on your bread instead of butter also assist with reducing LDL-cholesterol levels and increasing HDL-cholesterol (good cholesterol) levels. Although they are high in fat, the fat is of a good kind – monounsaturated fat, and has a higher level than any other vegetable oils. Olive oil is abundant in the Mediterranean diet, and studies have shown that those who follow a Mediterranean diet have lower rates of heart disease.

4)    Leafy Green Veg

The infamous leafy greens – spinach, bok-choy, Chinese cabbage, broccoli and mixed lettuce leaves have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease. Low in fat, high in dietary fibre, folate, antioxidants and potassium – these green gems are jam-packed with nutrients. Throw them in a salad, a stir fry or in a sandwich to enjoy their benefits.

There is just a few examples of heart healthy food to get you set for Valentines Day. The Heart Foundation website offers a few resources around healthy food and drink that you may like to check out.

Do you have any suggestions for heart healthy recipes?

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