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heart healthy food

Wild salmon and sardines: The omega 3’s in fish decrease blood pressure and blood clotting. At Foodtrainers we suggest 4 fish meals a week.

Red bell peppers: A good source of potassium which lowers blood pressure and red peppers are high in beta cryptoxanthin a carotenoid that’s protective against heart disease.

Citrus fruit: Frequent citrus fruit consumption is associated with a lower risk of stroke and also cardio vascular disease in general. One proposed mechanism is that the flavonoids in citrus prevent the oxidation of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.

Pumpkin, sunflower, chia or hemp seeds: In many ways I think seeds are the new nuts and should be consumed daily. Here we are flagging seeds as a source of magnesium. Many people are deficient in magnesium and this can lead to many cardiovascular problems.

Cheese: If you’re surprised to cheese on the list, I hear you. There’s a vitamin called K2 (K1 is the one you think of in terms of blood clotting). K2 is sort of like an advisor or therapist for calcium and vitamin D. K2 encourages calcium and vitamin D head to our bones and discourages calcium heading to arteries where it can calcify (not good for our hearts). K2 is found in grass-fed dairy and in the production of certain cheeses specifically Edam, Gouda and Brie. Let’s keep it to a thumb-sized portion max.

Beans: The soluble fiber content in beans is one reason they’re good for your heart. The fiber binds cholesterol decreasing the amount of cholesterol absorbed. If you aren’t a bean lover, try this bean pasta I mentioned in an earlier post.

Coconut oil: I included coconut oil because old advice told us to avoid saturated fats when it comes to heart health but not all saturated fats are the same. Coconut oil has been shown to increase HDL (good cholesterol) levels. In terms of quantity 1-2 tablespoons per day is enough.

Avocado: So avocados have fiber and potassium but most convincing was a study that found that in just one week healthy individuals had a 16% decrease of serum total cholesterol with an avocado enriched diet.

Matcha green tea: This is rich in antioxidants called catechin polyphenols that have strong anti-cancer properties, help prevent cardiovascular disease and slow the aging process. Matcha comes as a powder and can be mixed into hot water or added to smoothies.

Dark Chocolate: There is a lot of research concluding dark chocolate (I suggest 70% or higher) is good for our hearts. One study found that one serving of dark chocolate every three days decreased c-reactive protein (CRP) level , a measure of inflammation and heart health.

By Lauren Slayton for fitbit