The big love day is almost here. For some, Valentine’s day means celebrating romance, for some it means celebrating friendship, for some it means celebrating our consumer based society by way of Hallmark cards, See’s Chocolate and other Valentine’s day flare. While the traditional ways of observing the day are dandy, all of the heart shaped cards, cakes and chocolate boxes invoke thoughts of the actual human heart. Granted, the image is not quite as cute as the pink, purple and red ones surrounding us at the stores, but rather live, pulsing and vital to our health. It might be interesting to experiment with a new tradition by taking this day to consider one’s heart health.
Of course we can’t exclude candlelight dinners and definitely not chocolate, but with heart disease rampant in the United States, heart health is a serious matter. One of the best ways to show love to our hearts is by eating a healthy phytochemical, (or phytonutrient) rich diet. Phytochemicals are easy to find components of plants that are likely to improve one’s heart health and overall health. The key root, “phyto,” meaning plants is a good reminder that one is likely to get a good dose of these chemicals if he simply eats more plants. Below is a list of foods that are high in phytonutrients and specifically helpful in supporting heart health.
Love this fat! The omega-3 fatty acids present in flaxseeds, walnuts, soybeans and hemp seeds, appear to prevent coronary artery disease. One can also find these fats in oily fish such as salmon,trout and herring.
Dark leafy greens
The beautiful dark color of the dark leafy greens such as, spinach, collard greens and kale is a result of multiple phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. Disease fighters like folate and iron as well as fiber make dark leafy greens good for your heart and not to mention delicious.
Yes! This wonderful indulgence is a great source the flavonoids which is a type of phytochemical that limits oxidative damage to the body's cells, and protects against heart disease and cancer.
Sweet potatoes and other yellowish orange vegetables are rich in the phytochemical beta-carotene.
Tart, sweet and good for your heart! Pink grapefruit as well as tomatoes, watermelon, guava and more are a great source of lycopene.
Red wine is a delightful way to really enjoy some flavonoids like catechins and reservatrol.
The list goes on, and on. While these foods are particularly high phytochemicals, there is a galaxy of other fruits and veggies that will provide one with delight as well as cardiovascular support. One huge step to loving your heart is by simply eating more plants.