February is American Heart Month – What Heart Healthy Foods are you Eating?

heart health monthWe’ve eaten all the chocolate we can stand this month.  Fortunately, it has some wonderful heart benefits if it’s dark, and eaten in moderation.  But do you know about some other friends of our heart?

Tomatoes – Recent studies are showing that not only are tomatoes good to feed to your man for the health of his prostate, but you should indulge as well, since cardiovascular disease kills more women that breast cancer.  According to a Tufts University study, the same property that helps tomatoes fight prostate cancer, lycopene, works to protect our heart and reduce risk of heart disease by as much as 25%! Eat them raw, sun or oven-dried, and surprisingly even canned to get the most health benefit out of tomatoes.

Sweet Potatoes – Just like tomatoes, sweet potatoes are among the most powerful foods to contribute to heart health.  High in lycopene, beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, sweet potatoes are known to support the immune system, and are good roasted, grilled, and even blended into a green smoothie.

Brown Rice – Remember when you were a kid and mom let you eat white bread, and white rice?  And as the years went by, if your mom was even remotely into health, she eased you over to “brown” bread.  Later came brown rice.  Well, if you are still, in 2013, eating white rice and refusing brown rice (or bread) it’s time to put away childish things and get on board with the heart health program.  Brown rice, and many other whole grains, provide the fiber you need to help lower cholesterol.  As well, whole grains provide nutrients that assist with maintaining healthy blood pressure and overall heart health.  Do your heart a favor and tell your taste buds to grow up.

Soy Milk – How about a heart friendly beverage?  I love soy milk in my fruit smoothies, green smoothies, with cereal, coffee, tea.  I’m not saying I drink it straight, but I don’t much care for dairy milk that way either.  Not only is soy milk a cholesterol free alternative to milk, but research is starting to show that it may even protect from certain cancers.

Do you notice a pattern?  Not too many animal based products are on the heart healthy list.  That’s because much research shows that a plant based diet has numerous benefits for heart health.

This list could go on, (flaxseed, broccoli, blueberries, and so on) but I just thought I’d ask, are you giving your heart a little extra love this month?  What foods would you add to this list?

Happy healthy heart month.

 

 

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