You don’t have to celebrate Valentine’s Day to do something good for your heart this month.
February is American Heart Month, which means it’s a good opportunity for you to focus on your ticker and take a few extra steps to prevent heart disease. The easiest (and most enjoyable) way to do this? Food.
Nutrients such as phytoestrogensare, photosterols, carotenoids, polyphenols, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B and vitamin C support a healthy heart, according to WebMD. Still other nutrients — such as fiber, calcium and “good” fats — also do their job to lower cholesterol and protect the heart.
Let’s take a look at some of the foods that lead to a healthy heart:
Avocado is packed with good or monosaturated fats, which lower cholesterol.
Broccoli is fiber-rich to lower cholesterol.
Berries are wonderful anti-inflammatories.
Carrots contain carotenoids, which are antioxidants that protect the heart and are found in colorful vegetables and fruits.
Fish, particularly oily ones — such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines — contain omega-3 fatty acids to boost the immune system, reduce blood clots, protect against heart attacks and lower blood pressure.
(Ground) flaxseed is packed with fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and phytoestrogensare, which lower bad cholesterol and therefore the risk of blood clots, stroke and cardiac arrhythmias.
Legumes are fiber-rich and contain omega-3 fatty acids.
Nuts, particularly almonds and walnuts, contain omega-3 fatty acids.
Oatmeal contains omega-3 fatty acids, folates and calcium.
Oranges are great antioxidants and help reduce blood pressure.
Soy is linked to reduce cholesterol because it is low in saturated fats.
Spinach contains folates, potassium and fiber.
Squash and sweet potatoes contain antioxidants.
Tomatoes, in addition to being great sources of vitamin B and C, fiber and potassium, also contains the disease-preventive antioxidant lycopene.