Eat Your Way to a Healthy Heart
“Are you on a mission to start heart-healthy eating? We've compiled a list of heart-healthy foods, recipes and meal plans to get you started.”
Every list of heart disease prevention tips you'll come across this National Heart Month will include heart-healthy eating. That's because it's one of the most impactful ways to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Are you starting your journey to a healthier heart with healthier eating habits? If so, this list of heart-healthy foods, recipes and meal plans is perfect for you.
Add these 15 heart-healthy foods to your daily diet
According to Cleveland Clinic, one of the largest and most respected hospitals in the country, there are 15 heart-healthy foods you should work into your daily diet:
- Fish: It’s high in omega-3s. Salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and trout are all good sources.
- Healthy nuts: A handful of almonds or walnuts will satisfy your hunger and help your heart.
- Berries: They are chock full of heart-healthy phytonutrients and soluble fiber. Try blueberries, strawberries, cranberries or raspberries in cereal or yogurt.
- Flaxseeds: They contain omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and phytoestrogens to boost heart health. Take them in ground or milled form to reap the greatest benefit.
- Oatmeal: It’s a comfort-food nutrient powerhouse.
- Dark beans: Beans such as kidney or black beans, are high in fiber, B-vitamins, minerals and other good stuff.
- Red wine: A 4-ounce glass of red wine (up to two for men and one for women per day) can help improve good (HDL) cholesterol levels.
- Tofu: Incorporating or substituting tofu in place of typical meat-based proteins will make for a heart-healthy lunch or dinner.
- Vegetables: Red, yellow and orange veggies such as carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers and acorn squash have carotenoids, fiber and vitamins to help your heart.
- Spinach: This powerful veggie packs a punch. Try using it in sandwiches and salads instead of lettuce.
- Fruits: Oranges, cantaloupes and papaya are rich in beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium and fiber.
- Asparagus: This veggie has mighty nutrients such as beta-carotene, folate and fiber, and only has 25 calories per cup, or 5 calories per large spear.
- Tomatoes: High in lycopene, vitamin C and alpha- and beta-carotene, even sun-dried tomatoes will give you a boost.
- Dark chocolate: As long as the chocolate you select is at least 70 percent cocoa, it is good for your heart health.
- Broccoli: Crisp, fresh broccoli florets are a terrific heart-healthy veggie with a whopping list of nutrients, including vitamins C and E, potassium, folate, calcium and fiber.
Our Favorite Heart-Healthy Recipes
Heart-healthy recipes are easier to prepare than you might think. Better Homes & Gardens (BHG) features hundreds of ideas for heart-healthy recipes for every meal and occasion, including:
If you think eating foods that are heart-healthy means a bigger grocery bill, think again. Many of the recipes provided by BHG only cost $3 (or less!) per serving.
7-Day Heart-Healthy Meal Plans
Maybe you’re one of those people who would like to dive in with gusto. If so, EatingWell takes heart-healthy eating to the next level. They have designed 7-day meal plans based on five different caloric levels. If you know your desired level, this is a very targeted way to accomplish your goals. Take a look for yourself:
- 7-Day Meal Plan for 1,200 caloric level
- 7-Day Meal Plan for 1,400 caloric level
- 7-Day Meal Plan for 1,600 caloric level
- 7-Day Meal Plan for 1,800 caloric level
- 7-Day Meal Plan for 2,000 caloric level
EatingWell’s programs also meet nutritional criteria specific to people with cardiovascular disease or those hoping to prevent its development. Prior to embarking on any major diet change, however, you should consult with your family doctor.
Whether you're looking to do a complete overhaul of your eating habits or just some minor improvements, we hope this list of heart-healthy foods, recipes and meal plans has inspired you to improve your heart health. Now have fun trying out some new recipes and don't forget to share with us on Facebook and Twitter how you live #LifeOptimized through heart-healthy eating!