Heart Healthy Foods for the Spring
With the warmer weather, farmers markets and grocery aisles provide more fresh produce and better opportunities to eat fresh foods that are heart-healthy choices. With the influx of barbecue and heavy desserts comes opportunities to acquire fresh fruits and vegetables, so it’s a time to make heart-healthy choices for yourself as the warm months roll in.
Snacking on nuts like almonds, peanuts, and seeds like pumpkin or sunflower seeds can help reduce inflammation, which is one of the markers for heart disease. They also help reduce the risk of blood clots and can help improve the health of the lining of the arteries. Packed with fiber, vitamin E, and protein, nuts are an excellent low-fat snack. Add nuts to dishes to add crunch and flavor, as well as making things like salads more filling and satisfying. Try a handful of walnuts in a crunchy apple salad for a sweet treat that’s not too heavy on sugar.
Barley, Oats and Grains
Fiber is your heart’s best friend, helping to clean cholesterol from the body’s storage systems and keeping your digestive health on track. Oats and other whole grains provide a slow-burning source of energy and carbohydrates. Unlike highly-processed foods and simple sugars, they don’t create a spike in your blood sugar, which can be hard on your heart. Instead, oats and other whole grains provide a slow, steady release of energy, keeping you feeling full longer and offering your body a longer-lasting source of energy.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
With the onset of spring comes the growing season, and a significant increase in the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables. Dark leafy greens are ripening in the spring, as well as certain berries and other fresh fruits. You’ll see a wider variety of options in the super market, and start looking for farmers’ markets in your area to expand your selection of locally-grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Farmers’ markets also offer a great opportunity to try new foods you may not have considered in the past while supporting local growers. This spring, take more care of your heart by filling your plate with fresh, wholesome foods that support heart health.