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Top 10 Heart Healthy Foods

February is National Heart Health Awareness month. 

According to the Center of Disease Control, cardiovascular diseases (CVD’s) including heart attacks, stroke, and heart failure, is the leading cause of death in the U.S.  High blood pressure is the leading risk factor followed by high cholesterol, decreased fruit and vegetable intake, physical inactivity and high sodium intake.  Lucky enough most are preventable risk factors that can be modified through lifestyle changes.  Our recent article on Heart Healthy Eating gives some great practical guidance on where to start.

Consuming foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, potassium, fiber and healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats can help lower bad (LDL) cholesterol and blood pressure, helping to prevent heart disease.

Don’t just wear red this February, change your diet and add these 10 heart healthy foods to your next meal! 

1. Dark Leafy Greens: Spinach, Swiss Chard or Kale

These green veggies lead the way with their high potassium, magnesium and fiber content.  Use in a Green Smoothie, add to salads, stir fry’s, omelets/frittatas, or bake in the oven with a heart healthy fish like salmon or tuna.

2. Wild Fish: Salmon and Tuna

Salmon and Tuna are great sources of healthy omega 3 fatty acids. Add a 4-6 oz. serving to salad or pair with green leafy veggies for dinner.

3. Sweet Potatoes 

These seasonal root veggies provide a key source of heart healthy potassium, fiber, and beta-carotenes.   Known for its bright orange color and slightly sweet taste, sweet potatoes are great roasted with fresh herbs.  Make a large batch using this Roasted Veggie Recipe as a side dish, a post-workout snack, or for lunchtime leftovers.

4. Oatmeal

This pantry staple is high in fiber, potassium and omega-3s and may help lower bad cholesterol.  Choose steel cut oats over instant varieties and add berries for a natural sweetness to your morning breakfast.

5. Nuts

Nuts have many heart healthy benefits as a recent post on Nut Nutrition goes into greater detail.  Almonds and walnuts specifically are great sources of healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats.  Add Omega-3 Crunch Granola to your morning breakfast, use toasted varieties over a spinach salad, or take these adorable Granola Hearts for an afternoon snack.

6. Avocado

Avocado’s contain the heart healthy monounsaturated fats to help lower total cholesterol and bad (LDL) cholesterol.  Make a creamy