The heart is a vital organ, THE vital organ in fact, but it’s also our most powerful muscle; a muscle that needs to be exercised and fed well to be strong and healthy. When you hear or read heart smart the reference is to activities and foods that are beneficial to the heart and helps prevent heart disease. Lack of exercise and an improper diet can have a negative effect on the heart. The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise most days of the week. This can be a brisk walk, yard work, spin class, yoga, weight training and anything that gets the body moving.
Have you heard the saying “you can’t out exercise a bad diet?” Believe it because it’s true. As much as physical activity is important to our well-being, eating a healthy and well balanced diet is even more so. Lots of foods are healthy for our bodies; the obvious, fruits and vegetables, but there are other real foods that are good for our heart health. Whole grains are great for the heart; they are high in fiber and contain antioxidants that protect against coronary disease. Some yummy whole grains include oats, barley, buckwheat, and quinoa. Beans and legumes are another great source and you don’t need to eat a lot of them. Fresh catch seafood contains healthy fats; omega-3, that is important to heart health and a handful of raw nuts a day will certainly keep the doctor away. Nuts are loaded with vitamins and minerals as well as omega-3 fat.
Looking for something sweet on the tongue, but still good for your heart? Try moderate amounts of dark chocolate. Some research shows that cocoa is rich in flavanols that help preserve the healthy function of blood vessels and can help lower blood pressure. Need a healthy warm beverage to wash down the chocolate? A hot cup of green tea will do the trick! More research proved that people who drink at least 12 oz. of green tea a day are half as likely to suffer from a heart attack.
One thing is for sure, with the long list of heart healthy foods, we will never go hungry and always be healthy!
Tara Raj, CPC, CNWC
Green Element Wellness, Inc.