pinterest Save

5 heart-healthy foods

February is Heart Health Month! But why focus on bettering this essential organ just one month of the year? You can keep your heart healthy all year long by eating a plant-based diet. 
The Chan School of Public Health scrutinized dietary data from more than 200,000 nurses and other health professionals over the course of 20 years. The big takeaway from this elaborate study? People who followed a plant-based diet were less likely to develop heart disease. So how can you make sure your diet is heart-healthy?

Here's what to eat:

1. Fruits and Veggies
Whole, unprocessed fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that support heart health by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. By upping your produce intake to 5 cups a day, you may lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by 28%. Apples, pears, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables have shown to have the greatest heart benefits.

2. Whole Grains
Any Quaker Oats fans out there is familiar with their heart-healthy marketing campaign. And they're onto something! Because eating whole grains can help improve blood cholesterol levels and can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity and type 2 diabetes. 

But even if you're not an oatmeal fan, there are plenty of whole grain options that will keep you feeling satisfied. Whole grain based bread, rye, barley, corn, popcorn, brown rice, wild rice, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, farro and quinoa are all healthy, whole grains.

3. Nuts
It turns out your heart is nuts about nuts! Indulging in nuts regularly may help your heart health by lowering the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, aka the bad kind of cholesterol. LDL contributes to the development of plaque that builds up on the blood vessels. Want another excuse to start snacking? Eating nuts has been linked to lower levels of inflammation and heart disease and may reduce your risk of developing blood clots that can cause a fatal heart attack.  

4. Legumes
Try swapping that artery clogging beef in your pot of chili for extra beans. Seriously, your heart will thank you! Red meat is infamously damaging to your heart, whereas eating legumes four or more times a week is associated with a 22% lower risk of coronary heart disease, and an 11% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. 
Legumes - like beans, peas, lentils, and peanuts - lower heart disease risk by reducing LDL cholesterol, increasing HDL cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, helping maintain healthy blood glucose levels and assisting with weight management.

Find a savory and flavorful portion of legumes in our Three Layer Scramble and Lentil Meatloaf.

5. Dark Chocolate and Red Wine
Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and it's hard not to talk about chocolate and wine. While they aren't the healthiest of plant-based foods out there, these indulgences still have a few heart-healthy benefits. Daily consumption of dark chocolate made up of at least 60-70% cocoa has been found to possibly reduce nonfatal heart attacks and strokes in people at high risk of these problems. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids called plyphenols, which may help blood pressure, clotting and inflammation. Red wine when consumed in moderation, can help prevent cardiovascular disease. 

Read more about Jane Esselstyn on Women's Heart Health and are you at risk of a heart disease?.

Sources:Harvard Health Publishing - Plant-Based Diets That Protect Your Heart
Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies
Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council
The BMJ
One Green Planet
Red Wine: A drink to Your Heart
American Heart Association
Harvard Health Publishing - Fruits and Vegetables for Heart Health: More is Better

Veestro.com

Related Blog Posts

the power of choosing beans over beef

how to boost your immune system for the cold and flu season

is oat milk healthy?

what you eat can impact climate change

an easy approach to reducing your risk of breast cancer

foods that help your body produce collagen naturally

why does magnesium matter? 5 magnesium-rich foods

3 simple tips for losing weight starting today

deaths linked to heart disease are on the rise: here’s how a plant-based diet can help

your second brain - tips for a healthier gut

microwaves and nutrition: do microwaves kill our food?

eat these 5 foods to stay hydrated this summer

allergic to soy? these are 7 non-soy sources of protein

think fresh meals are better than frozen? think again!

what 1,500 calories looks like on a plant-based diet

5 foods to avoid

your sugar detox guide

3 tips to lose weight on a plant-based diet

are you vitamin d deficient?

here’s what happens to your body on a juice cleanse

don't like what you see in the mirror? these 3 things are ruining your skin.

bad diets are responsible for more deaths than smoking

war on waste: are fresh veggies healthier than frozen?

got milk? the dairy industry’s mass deception

what happens to your body when you go vegan?

how easily can the pope go vegan?

supercharge your sex life

is it possible to prevent and reverse disease?

5 ways plants power us in 2019

detox your body

eating your way through diabetes

eating healthy doesn’t have to be scary - 5 simple tips

breaking up with caffeine

the most unusual facts about berries

debunked: 5 myths about veganism

can you get enough protein from plants?

5 foods you should never eat

spotlight on: activated charcoal

5 superfoods for women's health

ancient remedies we use today

five magnesium-rich foods for stress relief

why detox?

10 ways to sneak in more veggies

5 surprising benefits of coconut oil

high fiber foods you can snack on

mushrooms—the vegetable that never was

myth vs fact: 5 things you didn't know about vitamin c

plant-based aphrodisiacs that work

5 heart-healthy foods

8 underrated veggies & why you should be eating them

#yeswecan challenge - setting yourself up for fitness success

probiotics - your best friend around the holidays

5 winter superfoods for more energy

5 easy ways to detox after overindulging

holiday spotlight: pumpkin

the key benefits of juicing

should you take supplements?

veggie anatomy 101: carrots

is plant-based good for kids?

good carbs vs. bad carbs

5 organic oils for health and beauty

food facts: tomatoes

frozen vs. fresh: know your veggies

10 seasonal superfoods

5 summer foods to keep you hydrated

how much water should you really drink?

plant foods that boost your energy

stone fruit: five favorites for summer

men's health month: five plant-based benefits for men

5 protein-packed veggies

10 foods that boost your brain

five concerns about plant-based calories

vitamin d: essential like the sun

is soy good or bad for men?

12 foods to keep your heart happy

the sweet truth about sugar: myths and facts

get grounded with this winter superfood

5 things to eat for a strong immune system

sodium's effects on health and weight

how to: make winter eating your healthiest

5 winter squashes you need for better health right now

halloween inspired veggies to help you live longer

fat vs. sugar: the battle rages on

the soybean saga: myths and facts

5 reasons to fall in love with kale all over again

five reasons to get your calcium from plants

top reasons to have an apple a day

meeting your nutritional needs with veestro

just how important is breakfast?

food facts: watermelon

plant based protein to keep you satisfied

rockin the rhubarb

iodine on a vegan diet

the truth behind antioxidants and food

eat your greens

do you get enough energy from your food?

healthy snacking tips for you & your kiddos

how to manage your allergies

is it a flower or a vegetable: discover the artichoke

leaders in plant-based nutrition

6 foods that help reduce inflammation

noodles, pasta, spaghetti, hoorah!

celebrating national frozen food month

why be meatless?

jane esselstyn on women's heart health

healthy superbowl ideas

cha-cha-chia

pulses - the superfood that always has bean

2016 resolution for health

cooking without oil

it's all about the pomegranate

how to have a healthy holiday

grains to protect your immune system this winter

movember, prostate cancer, and your diet

linking breast cancer and diet

pumpkin seeds and their health benefits

turmeric and it's powerful benefits

growing edamame & health benefits of soy

pumped for peppers!

what's sugar doing to us?

benefits of basil

plant-based nutrition and obesity in children

benefits of raw foods

lower your cholesterol the easy way. eat more fiber.

red, white, & blue can be healthy for you!

nih guide: how to lower blood pressure with a dash eating plan

happy father's day - how's that prostate?

vitamin b-12 in the vegan diet

pea it out!

stop the madness! treat heart disease with a healthy diet -- not drugs!

world health day & connection to vegan diet

cabbage - it's history, use, and nutritional benefit

want to lower your cholesterol? a pill is not a magic bullet!

are you at risk for heart disease?

losing your mind? try these memory boosting superfoods!

can eating more veggies save your eyesight?

don't have breakfast without one of these three!