It’s never too early to start caring for your heart. According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States – with one person dying from cardiovascular disease every six seconds. While strokes, heart attacks, and other cardiac conditions tend to appear in people over 60, younger adults should stay vigilant with their heart health, too. Heart disease affects 1 in 10 Americans between 20 and 39 years old.
February is American Heart Month, the perfect time to stock up on nutritious foods that make things a little easier on the hardest-working muscle in your body. Here are seven heart-healthy foods to add to your diet ASAP.
- Extra-virgin olive oil. Drizzle it over fish, swap it for salad dressing, or toss it with roasted veggies. Whether you use it as a dip, rub, or topping, olive oil has a proven track record when it comes to heart health. This healthy fat packs in antioxidants, which can relieve inflammation and decrease the risk of chronic disease. Extra-virgin olive oil is also rich in antioxidants, which work in your body to prevent damage caused by free radicals that can harm cells, including those that make up the walls of your arteries.
- Whole grains. Who says carbs can’t be good for you? Whole grains – like whole wheat, rye, brown rice, and quinoa – may help reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and decrease heart disease risk.
- Nuts and seeds. Mixed nuts and seeds aren’t just filling snacks; they’re heart-healthy options as well. Nutrient-dense and rich in fiber, polyunsaturated fats, and protein, nuts keep you full and make it easier to avoid high-processed foods. Some seeds – like hemp and flax – have also been shown to keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control when ingested regularly.
- Fatty fish. Another healthy fat to add to your diet comes from fish, such as tuna, salmon, trout, or mackerel. Like olive oil, the omega-3 fatty acids these fish contain can help ward off damaging inflammation inside the body.
- Coffee. Coffee lovers will be delighted to know that one to two cups of joe a day may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 30%. But remember to pace yourself, as consuming too much caffeine can have the opposite effect on your heart.
- The rainbow. Ok, so this isn’t technically food, but eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to ward off heart disease. Fresh foods are low in calories and high in vitamin and mineral content, making them the foundation for a healthy diet. You know how much we love our Glorious Greens, but be sure to get reds, oranges, yellows, and blues on your plate, too. Each color has a unique nutritional profile, so choosing a variety is usually best.
- Dark chocolate. While this isn’t an excuse to raid the Valentine’s Day candy aisle, the antioxidants in dark chocolate and cacao can boost heart health.
This month, show yourself some love with nutritious foods that help you feel your best, inside and out. Join us at The Juice Hive Mon-Sat (8 a.m.-4 p.m.) and Sun (9 a.m.-2 p.m.) for a smoothie, salad, sandwich, or cold-pressed juice. We stock our shelves and cold-case with better-for-you snack options that you’ll feel good about.