9 Ways to Help Protect Your Heart Health

Heart Health

Try one of these recipes for a healthy heart in honor of Women’s Heart Health Month (photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com)

Despite the fact that breast cancer gets all the press, heart disease is actually the number 1 cause of death for American women, killing more each year than all types of cancer combined.   In an effort to raise awareness about this often silent killer and to encourage all women to take their heart health seriously, the first week of February, from the 1st to the 7th, has been designated as Women’s Heart Health Week.  This awareness campaign culminates on the 7th with the American Heart Association’s Wear Red Day.

Take some time this week to help raise the awareness of the women around you about their heart health and to talk about how every woman can work to protect the health of her heart.

As our contribution, here are 9 heart-healthy foods that can play a role in your efforts in prevent heart disease and delicious ways to incorporate them into your diet.

1.     Oats

Whether you fill your breakfast bowl with oatmeal of enjoy a plate of Crunchy Apple Salad for lunch, getting oats in your diet is good for your heart.  These wonder grains are full of omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, potassium, folate, niacin, and soluble fiber.

2.     Black or Kidney Beans

Great in chili or soup, these kinds of beans provide B-vitamins, niacin, folate, and fiber.   Whip up some Corn and Black Bean Salsa for a heart healthy snack or as a terrific topping for beef, chicken, or fish.

3.     Almonds

These tasty tree nuts provide vitamin E, magnesium, fiber, and heart-healthy fats.  Grab a handful for a snack or mix them up in Orange Almond Salad for lunch or dinner.

4.     Walnuts

Known for their earthy flavor, these nuts also make a great afternoon snack while providing fiber, folate, healthy fats, and omega-3s.  Try the Wheat Farmer’s Salad for a filling lunch or a light dinner.

5.     Brown Rice

Filled with B-vitamins, fiber, and magnesium, brown rice provides a heart healthy alternative to other grains.  Serve it under steamed vegetables or use it to make Chicken and Rice Soup.

6.     Blueberries

When it comes to heart-healthy, you don’t get much better than blueberries.  They provide beat-carotene, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, and fiber.  They make a great topping for oatmeal or cereal in the morning, a great snack all by themselves, or you can bake them up in Blueberry Muffins for a special treat.

7.     Carrots

Packed with alpha-carotene and full of fiber, carrots add a great crunch to everything you put them in.  Slice them up in salad or put them on this Yummy Veggie Pizza for a dinner so delicious, everyone will love it.

8.     Spinach

This leafy green gives you lutein, b-complex vitamins, magnesium, potassium, folate, calcium, and fiber.  Use spinach as the base for your salads and in delicious side dishes like Lemon Spinach.

9.     Sweet Potatoes

Swap out plain potatoes for heart healthy sweet potatoes to get more fiber, vitamins A, C, and E, and beta-carotene.  Use sweet potatoes to make hash browns and French fries or serve up Sweet Potato Zucchini Frittata for dinner.

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