February is American Heart Month. For an instant boost of nutrients that are known for their heart-loving properties, regularly include these foods in your cart and on your plate.
Avocados are one of the only fruits that contribute monounsaturated, “good” fats and nearly 20 vitamins and minerals. These “good fats” can help improve intake of dietary fat without raising LDL cholesterol levels. Go beyond guacamole and use mashed avocado on toast, cubed avocado on salads and eggs or sliced avocado on wraps and sandwiches.
Walnuts have more omega-3s than any other tree nut (2.5g/oz of ALA). One ounce of walnuts also offers 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. Their nutty flavor and texture make them a versatile plant-based protein to add a heart-smart boost to sweet or savory recipes.
Whole-grain oats supply beta glucan—a soluble fiber that binds some of the LDL cholesterol in your digestive tract and keeps it from entering your bloodstream. Spoon up one bowl of old-fashioned Quaker® Oatmeal a day to consume two grams of this beneficial fiber towards the overall recommendation of at least 25 grams of fiber per day.
Nutrient-rich, dark, leafy greens like kale, spinach and Swiss chard supply potassium, calcium and magnesium that are linked to heart health and the regulation of blood pressure. This vegetable family also delivers folic acid, which may lower risk factors associated with heart disease. Include leafy greens in soups, casseroles, pasta and more.
Strawberries and blueberries are high in a plant nutrient called anthocyanin that is believed to lower blood pressure and protect blood vessels. Both are also high in fiber, supplying three grams per cup of sliced strawberries and four grams per cup of blueberries. Add berries to yogurt parfaits, overnight oatmeal or enjoy them on their own.