Tips for Better Heart Health
Along with Valentine’s Day, we celebrate American Heart Month during February. How can you help your heart stay healthier longer?
Fill up on fiber. Not only does fiber help lower levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, it can aid weight management.
Go bananas. Too much sodium and too little potassium is a recipe for high blood pressure. Strike a healthier balance by cutting back on salt and increasing potassium intake with bananas, potatoes, broccoli and kiwi.
Say “no” to that extra cup of caffeinated joe. Four or more cups of daily coffee could elevate blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
“Beet” heart disease. Beets contain the antioxidant betanin, which can help keep LDL cholesterol from clogging your arteries. Beets, spinach, broccoli, and papaya are also good source of folic acid, which helps to break down that heart-hurting homocysteine.
Choose healthy fats. Monounsaturated fats (think olive oil, avocado, nuts), when used in place of saturated fats (think butter, bacon, beef), help lower cholesterol. Another healthy fat – omega-3 – helps reduce inflammation. Omega-3 sources include wild salmon, walnuts and flaxseed.
Go for a raise in HDL cholesterol. Higher levels of “good” cholesterol can be almost as important as low levels of LDL cholesterol to keep cardiovascular disease at bay. In addition to exercise, quitting smoking and limiting trans fats, studies have shown drinking cranberry juice could help boost HDL levels.