5 ways to eat your way to a healthy heart

Heart disease and stroke cause a death every 7 minutes in Canada. These body bullies are also two of the three leading causes of death in the country. 29% of all deaths in Canada are a result of heart disease with men weighing in at 28% and women at a surprising 29.7%. Heart disease is avoidable. Regular exercise and a healthy diet are the ‘apple a day’ that will keep heart disease at bay. Adding a couple of foods to your diet can really make a difference and keep your ticker tocking.

Beanie Baby

Low-fat proteins are a heart-healthy substitute for fatty meats. The very best options here are beans as they are high in fibre, proteins and more vitamins and minerals than you can poke a sharp stick at. Beans can be added to any hearty dish like stews or chilli. They can also be sprouted and added to salads and sandwiches. The nutritional content of beans increases exponentially when sprouted. You can even get dehydrated bean sprouts which are super convenient as you can just add them to your cooked meals, sprinkle them over cereal or eat them as a snack. Get great bean recipes here.

Put the Kibosh on Fatty Foods

Of course you know this, but you still want to eat your favourite take out foods. Now you can have your take out and eat it too by making a few changes and limiting the number of times a week you indulge.

  • Cook French fries in the oven instead of deep frying.
  • Make your own pizza using organic, whole-grain crusts and low-fat cheese.
  • Bake chicken and fish in the oven and make homemade burgers with lean mince.
  • Need ice cream STAT? Try frozen low-fat yogurt instead.
  • Snack on dried fruit, Bio-Buds or nuts (especially almonds and walnuts) instead of candy and potato chips.

Avoid fried foods like the plague and try to indulge in your fatty favourites only once or twice a week.

Whole-some!

Eating whole grains gives you access to high fibre and added nutrition that help to combat heart disease and improve heart health. The grand-daddy of the wholegrain revolution is flax seed. Ground flax seed can be added to recipes as a substitute for flour, in salads or into cooked meals (you won’t even know it’s there!) Rich in Omega 3, fibre, lignans and containing a ton of nutrients, the diminutive flax seed is a big contender in a healthy heart diet.

Red wine

Resveratol is the key ingredient in red wine that helps protect red blood cells and reduce cholesterol while preventing blood clots that could result in heart attacks and strokes. Antioxidants called polyphenols are found in red grapes and help to reduce free radicals in the body. Red wine also prevents inflammation, so its bottoms up for a healthy heart.

Getting fresh

Of course you know that fresh fruits and veggies are the best things to eat and promote a healthy weight and a healthy heart. But some fruits and veggies are a little better for your heart than others.

  • Blueberries have superb antioxidant properties and are high in nutritional value.
  • Carrots contain carotenoid and tons of vitamins.
  • Spinach also contains carotenoid and packs a nutrient punch.

And to part on a very high note, you can eat chocolate too. Dark chocolate is best and opt for high quality chocolates as cheaper varieties tend to have more fatty oils. So pour yourself a glass of wine, enjoy a little chocolate and you won’t even miss your fast food.