GettyImages 465526144Food is a necessary part of maintaining a healthy heart. Not only can food taste good, but choosing heart healthy options can make us feel great as well! However, there is not just one food group that is best for the heart; there are a variety foods from each group from which to choose.

 

Whole grains. First, it is important to consume whole grains. This type of food contains high amounts of fiber, as well as B vitamins, magnesium, and iron. Fiber has also been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and decrease LDL cholesterol.

 

Fruits and vegetables. Including a variety of whole fruits and vegetables in your diet allows for an increased intake of heart-healthy nutrients. They are both high in fiber and potassium, which may lower blood pressure and decrease the risk for both heart attack and stroke. They are also low in sodium. When fresh produce is not available, choose frozen or canned vegetables and fruits in water without added sugars, saturated or trans-fat, or salt. Seasonal and local produce can be cheaper, environmentally friendly, better tasting, as well as have a higher nutritional value.

 

Lean proteins. Choose lean, low-fat protein sources. This could include low-fat yogurt, lean ground turkey, and low sodium beans. Healthy fats and oils are also a necessary part of a heart healthy diet. Items such as fatty fish (like salmon and mackerel) and walnuts that contain omega-3 fatty acids have been proven to reduce blood pressure and raise HDL cholesterol.

 

By including these foods in your diet, you can be sure that you are doing your best to keep your heart healthy!