Did you know February is National Heart Health Month? Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, for men and women. One in four women’s deaths are due to heart disease. Time to change that! There are many things you can do to lower your chance of getting of a heart attack or other issues. A healthy diet and exercise are imperative for a strong heart and a great place to start! Fill up on these pink and red foods this Valentine’s day and help decrease your risk of heart disease.
- Red Bell Peppers. Red bell peppers are high in lycopene, which attributes to the red color in many fruits and vegetables. This antioxidant is recommended for those who want to lower blood pressure, decrease the risk of developing coronary heart disease or decrease mortality rate in those with metabolic syndrome. Bell peppers are also full of fiber which can help lower your cholesterol. For added flavor, cut up red bell peppers and dip them in hummus or guacamole.
- Apples. As the old saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. The vitamin C content in apples may help you prevent cancer, strokes and may even help you live longer. Apples are also high in potassium, an electrolyte that can help regulate your heart rate. Consuming enough potassium may help you lower blood pressure, anxiety, stress and much more. Try eating apples and peanut butter for a great balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
- Cranberries. Evidence shows that cranberries are a great heart healthy fruit. Their anti-inflammatory properties may even protect you from developing cardiovascular disease by decreasing blood pressure and preventing plaque buildup. Sprinkle dried cranberries over a spinach salad for a delicious and nutrient rich lunch.
- Raspberries. Research has shown that the flavonoids contained in foods such as berries may help improve your memory. Raspberries are also rich in antioxidants which may help prevent cancer, decrease inflammation and increase heart health. Top your parfait with flavorful raspberries for a pop of sweetness!
- Watermelon. Watermelon contains over 90% water! Did you know that staying hydrated is beneficial for your heart? Drinking enough water can help prevent your heart from working as hard and contribute to lowering blood pressure. Eat or drink water to help your heart move the blood throughout your body as efficiently as possible. Eat watermelon by the slice or blend it up in a smoothie.