12 foods to keep your heart happy

Here’s a list of the 12 best foods to keep your heart pumping with happiness. Warning: some of these foods may keep you in the Valentine’s Day spirit.cleansingtonic-7777.jpg
  1. Beets
This purplish red root is becoming a popularly studied vegetable for its beneficial effects on cardiovascular health and blood pressure. Try the Cleansing Tonic for a quick and delicious boost of beetroot juice. 
  1. Tomatoes
Are rich in the antioxidant lycopene, minerals and vitamins that support disease prevention. Studies suggest the specific combination of nutrients may lower the risk of heart disease. Did you know that cooking tomatoes actually makes lycopene more available for absorption?
  1. Dark Chocolate
This is the best news for chocolate lovers. Nibbling is not only welcome, but also good for your heart! Just make sure to look for at least 70% dark chocolate content. Go ahead let yourself indulge a little. 
  1. Wine
Cheers to that! But choose red, the color of the month, and just a glass to maximize the benefits. The polyphenols are shown to help prevent cardiovascular disease and increase good “HDL” cholesterol[1].
  1. Apples
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Research suggests that strong antioxidant compounds may be associated with limiting the “bad” LDL cholesterol that could result in the accumulation of plaque in the inner walls of the heart[2].
  1. Whole Grains
Studies suggest there is a link between whole grains and lower risks of heart disease[3]. The fiber is especially beneficial by lowering LDL the “bad” cholesterol. Oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice or farro are all great options to incorporate into your diet. The Quinoa Bake is a slice of heaven and loaded with protein.
  1. Beans
Provide great sources of folate, which helps to keep out damaging aminos of the bloodstream and magnesium to help lower blood pressure. Lentils, kidney beans and black beans are all great options. Lentil Meatloaf is packed with protein and heart-healthy approved.
  1. Oranges
Have soluble fiber, which play a role in blocking cholesterol absorption. Don’t throw away the zest! It has protective compounds to prevent clogged arteries.
  1. Kale
One of the powerhouse veggies that is especially good for your heart. Packed with omega-3 fatty acids and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients that can improve cardiovascular health. Knock down two on the list by opting for a Kale and Quinoa Salad.
  1. Asparagus
High in potassium, which can help maintain normal blood pressure levels and vitamin K helps the blood clot[4].
  1. Nuts
Will keep you ticking and full from healthy fats, vitamin E and fiber. They are a great snack and perfect to take on the go.
  1. Green Tea
Is high in antioxidants and studies from Harvard show the tea is associated with lowering the risk of heart disease. Bottom line, add a cup or two of tea and reap the benefits[5].  

References:

[1] http://greatist.com/eat/best-foods-for-heart-health

[2]http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/heart_healthy_diet_center/top_15_heart_healthy_foods?page=10

[3]http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/heart_healthy_diet_center/top_15_heart_healthy_foods?page=10

[4] http://greatist.com/eat/best-foods-for-heart-health

[5] http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/green-tea-may-lower-heart-disease-risk

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