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Best and Worst Foods for your Heart

Posted on 02/27/2015

As we wind down the shortest month of the year, it reminds me how important the subject of heart health is with it being American Heart Health Month.  I didn’t want to miss one more opportunity to discuss heart health.   

Heart disease is after all the so-called ‘silent killer’ of women and I feel obligated to help get the word out about ways to combat the disease. Why not highlight the healthiest and most unhealthiest foods for your ‘ole ticker? 

Here’s a great list I came by recently and thought you’d enjoy reading it as much as I did.  The American Heart Association has a plethora of great information as well, so if you want to read more about it, check them out at heart.org.

Best foods for your heart: 

  • Nuts -- Don’t go completely nuts, moderation is key. Your best bet is a serving of tree nuts a day, consisting of a small handful of nuts 12-14. Nuts are packed with protein and unsaturated fat. Keep the daily serving size to no more than ¼ cup or you will consume more fat and calories than you like.
  • Beans -- Beans are powerhouses for heart health. They help you power up with protein and are chocked full of fiber. So go crazy with black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, pinto, red beans and  navy beans!
  • Oats -- Go for oats, steel cut oats or coarse oats unprocessed for the best bet. These make a great meal for cold mornings or year ‘round cold versions are a tasty treat. And, oats are easier to prepare than you think…especially overnight recipes that practically make themselves. Just stay away from the convenience packs that are packed with extra sugar and ingredients you want to stay away from.
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables -- These should be the foundation of your diet. Make sure to include them in meals, snacks and get your recommended servings every day for heart health. A good rule of thumb, make non-starchy vegetables at least half of each meal. The fiber will fill you up and help keep your arteries healthy. 
  • Fish -- Eating fish twice per week is the recommendation by the American Heart Association, which helps your heart leaps and bounds. Fatty fish in particular, such as salmon, helps keep blood pressure in check.  Regulated blood pressure helps overall heart health. 
  • Olive oil -- Oil up, but watch the amount and limit it to no more than 2 tablespoons a day, or you could be adding extra calories unknowingly. The ‘good fat’ in olive oil is helpful in keeping your heart healthy according to numerous studies.

Worst foods for your heart:

  • Processed meats -- These are the worst offenders for heart health and for any animal protein. Full of fat, excessive sodium, nitrates and nitrites, they have very little, if any, redeemable qualities.  Eliminate these from your diet.
  • Red meat -- Slightly better than its processed cousin, processed meats, red meat is not the ideal protein source for your diet.  Go lean when you go red, and be sure to use in moderation due to the saturated fat levels in red meat.
  • Fried foods -- Fried anything is bad news for heart health, so try to steer clear of them entirely and if you do indulge once in awhile, try to choose those foods not fried in trans fat. Heart-healthy oil such as olive oil is a better choice.
  • Soda pop -- Sugar-laden soda has been associated with heart disease, just one can a pop a day increases one’s risk for heart  attacks by 20 percent. Dump the brown bubbly stuff and opt for a healthier choice, free tap water.
  • Salty foods -- Diets high in sodium are at greater risk for heart disease due to high blood pressure. The average American consumes 3,400 milligrams of sodium per day, but the American Heart Association recommends only 1,500 milligrams per day. Check the sodium levels in unlikely places, like breads, prepared foods and salad dressings. Leave the salt shaker in the cupboard and see how good food tastes without the extra salt. 

Are you still uncertain or confused about what to eat for optimal heart health? Then, let us do the work for you! Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating meals are ideal for heart health, since we adhere to the recommendations of the American Heart Association. We’ve been producing freshly prepared meals for 30 years. Interested in learning more? Check out our delicious, freshly prepared meals today at seattlesutton.com. 

If you have questions about how our meals can benefit your heart health, give us a call at 1-800-442-DIET (3438) and ask for Paula, my daughter who can help you with your questions. Or, you can call her directly anytime at 817-689-0265 on her cell.

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post-author

Seattle Sutton, BSN, RN

She made healthy eating her mission in life long before anyone else did, in hopes of helping her own obese father. A registered nurse by training and entrepreneur at heart, she lives, eats and breathes everything about healthy eating and helping to improve people’s eating habits and overall health. She enjoys never having to bother with grocery shopping, cooking and counting calories. Her favorite SSHE meal, although it’s hard to pick just one, is the Potato Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Sauce.

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