Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US. According to the CDC, About 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every years, equaling 25% of all deaths. On top of that, every year about 720,000 Americans have a heart attack.
But there is great news: doctors confirm that eating the right foods every day can reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Fresh produce is the cornerstone for a heart healthy diet because it helps wipe out free radicals in the bloodstream, protecting blood vessels. The foods listed here are all top-performers in protecting your heart and blood vessels.
On November 18th, at 7:00 pm, Freedom Home Care’s Wellness Center at the Lodge of Northbrook will host Dr. Jason Robin, Cardiologist at NorthShore University HealthSystems. Dr Robin will speak about the benefits of a Mediterranean diet, and how it helps promote good heart health habits. The lecture is free to attend, and is presented by Brandel Health & Rehab in Northbrook. To learn more, call the Lodge of Northbrook at (847) 897-2821.
Here are the top 25 Heart-Healthy foods, plus some great menu ideas — so you can easily bring them into your daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Salmon: Omega-3 fatty acids. Grill salmon with a yummy rub or marinade. Save a chunk to chop for a pasta or salad later on.
- Flaxseed (ground): Omega-3 fatty acids; fiber, phytoestrogens. Ground flaxseed hides easily in all sorts of foods — yogurt parfaits, morning cereal, homemade muffins, or cookies.
- Oatmeal: Omega-3 fatty acids; magnesium; potassium; folate; niacin; calcium; soluble fiber. Top hot oatmeal with fresh berries. Oatmeal-and-raisin cookies are a hearty treat.
- Black or Kidney Beans: B-complex vitamins; niacin; folate; magnesium; omega-3 fatty acids; calcium; soluble fiber. Give soup or salad a nutrient boost — stir in some beans.
- Almonds: Plant omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin E; magnesium; fiber; heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats; phytosterols. Mix a few almonds (and berries) into low-fat yogurt, trail mix, or fruit salads.
- Walnuts: Plant omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin E; magnesium; folate; fiber; heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats; phytosterols. Walnuts add flavorful crunch to salads, pastas, cookies, muffins, even pancakes.
- Red wine: Catechins and reservatrol (flavonoids). Toast your good health! A glass of red wine could improve “good” HDL cholesterol.
- Tuna: Omega-3 fatty acids; folate; niacin. Here’s lunch: Salad greens, fresh fruit, canned tuna. Keep “Salad Spritzer” – a light dressing — in your office fridge.
- Tofu: Niacin; folate; calcium; magnesium; potassium. Tasty tofu is easy: Thinly slice “firm” tofu, marinate several hours, grill or stir-fry.
- Brown rice: B-complex vitamins; fiber; niacin; magnesium, fiber. Microwavable brown rice makes a quick lunch. Stir in a few chopped veggies (broccoli, carrots, spinach).
- Soy milk: Isoflavones (a flavonoid); B-complex vitamins; niacin; folate, calcium; magnesium; potassium; phytoestrogens. Soy milk is great over oatmeal or whole-grain cereal. Or, make a smoothie with soy milk.
- Blueberries: Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); anthocyanin (a flavonoid); ellagic acid (a polyphenol); vitamin C; folate; calcium, magnesium; potassium; fiber. Cranberries, strawberries, raspberries are potent, too — for trail mixes, muffins, salads!
- Carrots: Alpha-carotene (a carotenoid); fiber. Baby carrots are sweet for lunch. Sneak shredded carrots into spaghetti sauce or muffin batter.
- Spinach: Lutein (a carotenoid); B-complex vitamins; folate; magnesium; potassium; calcium; fiber. Pick spinach (not lettuce) for nutrient-packed salads and sandwiches.
- Broccoli: Beta-carotene (a carotenoid); Vitamins C and E; potassium; folate; calcium; fiber. Chop fresh broccoli into store-bought soup. For a veggie dip, try hummus (chickpeas).
- Sweet potato: Beta-carotene (a carotenoid); vitamins A, C, E; fiber. Microwave in a zip-lock baggie for lunch. Eat au naturale, or with pineapple bits.
- Red bell peppers: Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex vitamins; folate; potassium; fiber. Rub with olive oil, and grill or oven-roast until tender. Delicious in wraps, salads, sandwiches.
- Asparagus: Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex vitamins; folate; fiber. Grill or steam slightly, then dress with olive oil and lemon. It’s a pretty side dish.
- Oranges: Beta-cryptoxanthin, beta- and alpha-carotene, lutein (carotenoids) and flavones (flavonoids); vitamin C; potassium; folate; fiber. Got orange juice? Check out the new nutrient-packed blends.
- Tomatoes: Beta- and alpha-carotene, lycopene, lutein (carotenoids); vitamin C; potassium; folate; fiber. For a flavor twist, try oil-packed tomatoes in sandwiches, salads, pastas, pizzas.
- Acorn squash: Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex and C vitamins; folate; calcium; magnesium; potassium; fiber. Baked squash is comfort food on a chilly day. Serve with sautéed spinach, pine nuts, raisins.
- Cantaloupe: Alpha- and beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); B-complex and C vitamins; folate; potassium; fiber. A fragrant ripe cantaloupe is perfect for breakfast, lunch, potluck dinners.
- Papaya: Beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein (carotenoids); Vitamins C and E; folate; calcium; magnesium; potassium. Serve papaya salsa with salmon: Mix papaya, pineapple, scallions, garlic, fresh lime juice, salt and black pepper.
- Dark chocolate: Reservatrol and cocoa phenols (flavonoids). A truffle a day lowers blood pressure, but choose 70% or higher cocoa content.
- Tea: Catechins and flavonols (flavonoids). Make sun tea: Combine a clear glass jar, several tea bags, and hours of sunshine.
Want some more guidance or assistance with cooking and meal planning to make the switch to a Heart Healthy Diet today? Freedom Home Care offers extensive in home care, with no hourly minimum to begin. To learn more about our services, visit : www.freedomhomecare.net/services