5 Foods to Keep Your Heart Healthy


5 Foods to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Take better care of your heart. That’s a New Year’s resolution everybody should follow. Why? Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. An estimated 655,000+ people die every year from complications linked to heart disease. But it’s largely preventable with regular exercise, a healthy diet, and smart lifestyle habits to promote health, reduce stress, and prevent disease. Wondering what foods can help keep your heart healthy? Start here...Eating more plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts & seeds, and legumes, and LESS processed foods makes a big difference.

Why? They’re low in sodium. The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. But most adults eat an average of 3,400 mg of sodium per day found in foods like french fries, pizza, processed meals, canned meats, and baked goods. And it’s time to change that. There’s lots of tasty and healthy meals you can enjoy that are low in sodium. Cook at home, or pick your favorites from the Low-Sodium menu.

Here’s 5 heart-healthy foods to add to your diet:

1. Rosemary

It’s an herb with a fresh aroma that can flavor your favorite dish. It can be a great alternative to the salt shaker. Try:

  • Chicken Patty with Rosemary Gravy with Lima Beans and Spring Vegetables

2. Black Beans

Black beans, and most legumes, are packed with vitamins and nutrients. They’re high in antioxidants, folate, and magnesium, which help keep blood pressure in check. Beans are also high in fiber, which helps manage cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

And they’re easy to add to a salad, casserole, or soup or serve as a side. Try:

  • Tilapia with Miso Ginger, Black Beans, Rice with Peas & Carrots

3. Salmon

It’s not a plant-based food, so what makes salmon a heart-healthy choice?

Fish is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Research suggests omega-3s help reduce heart disease, control blood pressure, lower triglyceride levels, and prevent inflammation. If you bake salmon at home, season it with rosemary. Yum!

Fish 2-3 times a week is a heart-healthy habit, according to the American Heart Association. Try:

  • Salmon & Vegetable Linguini
  • Salmon Caponata with Orzo & Spinach

4. Sweet Potatoes

Just because sweet potatoes are a popular dish during the holiday season, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them year round. Sweet potatoes take longer to digest than white potatoes, preventing a spike in blood sugar levels. They’re also a rich source of fiber, vitamin A, and lycopene, to support heart health. Sweet potatoes make a great addition to a main dish, and they pair well with eggs. Try:

  • Fried Egg Patties, Sweet Potatoes & Asparagus
  • Plain Omelet, Sweet Potatoes & Broccoli
  • Whole Grain Pancake & Sausages, Sweet Potatoes & Cinnamon Apples

5. Barley

If you’re ready to give up white rice (it’s digested fast and spikes blood sugar levels), try something different, like barley. It’s a nutty-flavored whole grain, and it’s a good substitute to white rice. It’s also good in soup and stew. Research suggests fiber in barley may help keep cholesterol levels in check and control blood sugar levels to protect your heart. Try:

  • Beef Barley Stew, Brown Rice & Minted Carrots

Hungry for more low-sodium meals to keep your heart healthy? Check out the complete menu here.