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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Heart-Healthy Foods you Might Not Have Known Of...

I say, enough about what we shouldn't be eating in order to stay heart health! What can we eat that could help us lower blood pressure and take a step towards fending off this number #1 killer? Thanks to Forbes, we found a great list of heart-healthy foods:

1. Non-fat Yogurt

Dairy products, on the whole, get a bad rap for being high in saturated fat, but non-fat yogurt is actually a great heart-healthy start to the day. The American Heart Association found that those who ate more non-fat yogurt were 31% less likely to develop high blood pressure. Plain, non-fat yogurt may not sound all that appealing, but here's how you can spice it up: drizzle with a tablespoon of Agave Nectar, add some blueberries or raspberries (any berry!) and toss in a bit of heart-healthy All Bran. Delicious and nutritious!

2. Sunflower Seeds

I was surprised by this one, but these little fellas do fall into the nuts and legumes category - a generally heart-healthy bunch of goodies. However, these unsuspecting seeds are extremely high in Vitamin E, putting them above the rest of the nut and legume family. With just one handful you can consume 75% of your daily intake of Vitamin E!

3. Bananas

As a runner, bananas are a must in my diet. This popular fruit is potassium rich, which can help to relax artery walls and boost kidney function. This might seem like a lot, but 1.5 to 2 bananas a day could drop blood pressure 2-3 points, keeping the cardiologist at bay. I know plenty of people who aren't fans of this potassium packer, so if you're included in that bunch raisins, prunes and watermelon are also good sources of potassium.

4. Purple Potatoes

This specific potato contains antioxidants that help to reduce inflammation - a symptom of heart disease.

5. Spinach

All the credit is in the nitrates of these green leaves!

6. Oats

We've known for quite some time that high-fiber oats are heart-healthy.

7. Beets

The phytochemicals in beets not only give them their red color, but also help to lower blood pressure.

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