7 Foods for a Hearty Dose of Heart Health

By Nicole Fletcher,

At PokitDok, our mission is to provide a better, more efficient and transparent consumer experience in healthcare. That said, the foundation of why we do what we do is inspired by people and helping them to lead healthier lives. From moms and dads, to kids, significant others, grandparents and everyone in between, we stand for supporting healthy habits and preventative health measures for you and those you love most in your life. In celebration of American Heart Month and Valentine's Day, we give you this fun, heart-inspired post. With that, here's seven foods to keep you heart-healthy all February long:

1. Carrots. Did you know that carrots are high in Vitamin A and have been associated with a lower risk of heart attacks in women? Nutrients in these orange, yellow, red, white, and purple beauties may provide protection against heart disease and cancer, while helping to build healthy bones and nervous systems. Some studies have also shown that cooking carrots may help boost their antioxidant levels and overall nutritional value. Share the love this month by adding some heart shaped carrots to a healthy dinner like chicken noodle soup- for the soul and for the heart.

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Check out the recipe.

2. Bananas. Not often though of as a 'heart healthy fruit', bananas are high in potassium and fiber and low in sodium, making them an excellent choice for maintaining healthy cholesterol, blood pressure and heart function. This Valentine's Day, doodle a few hearts and a quick middle school-esque message for your cheesy humor appreciating fam. They'll go bananas over it. 🙂

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3. Eggs. They get a bad rap in heart health with yolks containing ~186 milligrams of cholesterol - more than half of the American Heart Association’s daily recommendation. Eggs, though, are an accessible, inexpensive source of protein and contain essential vitamins and minerals that are excellent for your heart and your brain. While some need to be conscious of their egg consumption, both from a quantity and preparation perspective, eggs are a great way to keep your ticker tickin'. Share the love first thing on Valentine's Day with a heart-shaped egg atop a piece of whole grain toast. #hearthealth #heartshape #loveon

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Get the mold.  

4. Strawberries. Did you know that strawberries rank #2 among the top 10 fruits in antioxidant capacity? They're also naturally fat, sodium and cholesterol-free with 1 serving (~8 strawberries) weighing in at only 50 kcals! Strawberries help control cholesterol, blood pressure and homocysteine levels, three of the risk factors associated with heart disease. Toss 'em in a pretty pink smoothie, a romantically fresh salad, or heck, redefine a bouquet of roses. They're beautifully delicious (and might save you a penny or two come Feb. 14th).

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How to make them.

5. Tomatoes. Rich in lycopene, available all year round and with a deliciously sweet flavor, tomatoes are supremely high in antioxidants. A recent study by scientists at Tufts University in Boston, suggests regularly eating lycopene over many years can have a powerful protective effect on the heart. This time around, cut a pearl or cherry tomato in two, position the two halves as shown and jump on Cupid's bandwagon.

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6. Dark Chocolate. We know, we know. You've heard it before - but that doesn't make it any less awesome that dark chocolate is good for your heart. It ranks among the top 10 dietary sources of antioxidants (others include cloves, mint, anise, cacao powder, and berries), according to the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Dark chocolate is also rich in bioactive flavonols and theobromine, which reportedly have grand effects on our ticker [heart] cells and blood vessels, which keep our hearts pumping healthily. It should be noted that the chocolate we speak of should be dark, as close to pure as possible and consumed in moderation. So tonight when you're hankering for something sweet, grab a square of the good stuff, give your <3 a quick fist bump and relax.

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Make your own dark chocolate hearts. 

7. Red Wine. The moment you've all been waiting for - when we validate your nightly glass of vin. Cheers to that #amIright. Research shows that the alcohol and antioxidants in red wine may help prevent heart disease. How, you ask? By increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and protecting against artery damage. Those same antioxidants (specifically polyphenols) may also help protect your heart's blood vessel lining. So, the next time you reach for a deep Merlot or a pretty Pinot - give the ol' corazon a quick glass clink and know you're doin' your body good.

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The opinions expressed in this blog are of the authors and not of PokitDok's. The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice.

  Tags: Healthcare consumerism

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