February was American Heart Month and to celebrate I wanted to bring to light some foods that may not be the typical ones talked about in a heart healthy diet. Hopefully most of us know that high fiber, fruits and veggies, the right fats and low salt are all important (it’s OK if you didn’t), but the food still has to taste good, right?!
Fortunately, many herbs, spices and flavoring agents are packed with flavor and potential to boost heart health. Check out these recommendations for heart healthy foods: herbs and spices that I shared last week on First Coast Living.
Here’s the summary of the foods, plus some points that didn’t make it into the segment:
- Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols.
- It is naturally anti-inflammatory.
- Linked to lowering blood glucose, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides
- Enjoy in soups, sauces, dips, smoothies, and tea.
- Contains the flavonoid quercetin, which helps protect the inner lining of blood vessels.
- May help lower blood pressure and total cholesterol levels.
- Enjoy thinly sliced on sandwiches and salads. Add to any dish you can to add flavor and benefits like my Grilled Veggie Pizza.
- Research suggests that garlic could help lower blood pressure when eaten regularly.
- Raw garlic is ideal as cooking deactivates one of its active compounds.
- Use a clove of garlic in dips like hummus, guacamole and beyond.
- It’s still good to enjoy garlic cooked because it adds flavor and other benefits.
- Source of vitamin A and magnesium, both which promote a healthy heart.
- It is anti-inflammatory, offering potential protection against the physiological impact of chronic stress.
- Enjoy as a garnish on salad or cooked meats or in my Super Basil Tomato Soup.
- May reduce total and LDL (bad) cholesterol and even increase HDL (good) levels.
- Enjoy in guacamole (read to the middle of this post for my recipe), in tacos, or on top of my Vegetarian Rice & Bean Casserole.
- May benefit circulation and has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Marinate meats with chopped rosemary or toss roasted vegetables with it.
- Chili peppers and cayenne may reduce blood cholesterol including triglycerides.
- Add peppers to dishes that could benefit from some heat or sprinkle in cayenne pepper.
- This spice may be anti-inflammatory and help prevent platelets from clumping together in your blood.
- Enjoy in my Pumpkin Apple Overnight Oats Recipe or in plain yogurt, or in this blueberry smoothie.
Did this give you some new ideas of how to eat to improve your heart health? These foods can be powerful forces on your circulation, blood pressure, blood vessel health, and even stress levels and prove that you truly are what you eat. =)
To your heart,