Happy heart menu: 10 tips for healthy heart diet
The true happy meal starts with a healthy breakfast and ends with a tasty treat.
Oatmeal with berries: Oatmeal has a high concentration of soluble fibre, which helps to lower cholesterol levels – and research by Harvard Medical School has shown that eating three or more portions of blueberries and strawberries a week can lower your risk of a heart attack. Going grain-free? Why not try chia seed or quinoa recipes as alternatives – both will keep you full until lunch!
Over 50% of American adults drink coffee everyday, and a recent study involving over 25,000 participants reported much lower rates of heart problems amongst those who drank three to five cups a day. Coffee can also boost your metabolic rate, your mood, your concentration and your physical performance, as well as being linked to prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. So if you love your coffee, feel free to enjoy (in moderation).
Mid-morning or afternoon snack
Fruit: Great afternoon snacks for a healthy heart include apples, oranges, pomegranates and grapefruit – all considered to be healthy heart fruits that can lower your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
A small handful of walnuts, almonds, pistachios or peanuts can also make a satisfying snack – filled with beneficial fats and fibre.
Green tea is thought to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels – an easy way to greater heart health. Green tea also contains small amounts of caffeine, which help maintain your metabolism throughout the day, whilst giving you a small energy boost. James Duigan, personal trainer to A-list celebrities including Elle Macpherson and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, recommends drinking up to six cups per day.
Wild salmon with leafy greens: Salmon is rich in unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids, which help to reduce inflammation in the body, lower blood pressure and reduce blood clotting and irregular heartbeats. The American Heart Association recommends eating salmon (or another omega-3-rich fish) at least twice a week. Ensure you’re buying wild, not farmed fish –the latter often has high levels of toxic man-made chemicals.
As a side dish, why not have some spinach, kale, broccoli or another dark green, leafy vegetable? Green vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre and folic acid – all of which help reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Bean stew or a soy stir fry are great ways to get in a protein rich meal without eating meat. The average American’s consumption of meat has rapidly increased over the past decade, while the quality of meat has declined. Research has found links between a lower intake of methionine (an amino acid present in meat) and a longer life span – something to consider when choosing your intake of protein. What’s more, opting for soy proteins, legumes and pulses will also help to lower your cholesterol levels.
Dark chocolate: For a delicious treat, you could try having a couple of squares of dark chocolate. Chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa (60-70%) is the best for maximizing your heart health.
If you follow a healthy eating plan in combination with exercise and mindful practices, you can maximize your heart health with minimal effort. Keep track of your progress with your QardioArm and keep us updated at www.facebook.com/getqardio or @getqardio!