What you eat can help your heart. Foods that are rich in fiber, omega-3 fats and antioxidants top the list of foods to include. Incorporating these foods into your eating routine can help to lower your total cholesterol, increase healthy (HDL) cholesterol and drive down lousy (LDL) cholesterol levels. Try these quick ideas:
Flax: Opt for ground flax seed or liquid flax seed oil. A favorite liquid flaxseed oil is Barlean's Omega Swirl Flaxseed oil, it tastes SO GOOD and is great on plain yogurt, in smoothies or as a topping for oatmeal.
Brown rice: When you're out to eat ask for brown rice instead of white rice, there is more fiber and nutrients! And when cooking at home trade-in white rice for whole-grain brown rice or brown rice blends.
Walnuts: The nut that is loaded with the most heart helping omega-3 fat are walnuts. Try adding them to quick breads or muffins, oatmeal, salads and trail mix for heart helping crunch.
Quiona: This seed cooks up similar to brown rice and is full of fiber and a complete source of protein. It works great as a stand-in for rice with stir-fry or in grain based salads like tabbouleh.
Oatmeal: Start your morning with a bowl of hot oatmeal! If you are short on time, cook up a batch of oatmeal and then store in an air tight container and heat your portion of oatmeal every morning. Try topping oatmeal with fresh fruit to limit the amount of added sugar.
Berries: The bright red and purple colors of berries are linked to helping heart health and they go great in a salad or as a side dish at most meals. Try adding a serving of fruit to every meal!
Salmon: Some fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring and sardines have heart helping fats. The American Heart Association recommends having heart healthy fish two times per week.
Avocado: A fruit that is rich in monounsaturated fats which can help boost healthy (HDL) cholesterol levels. Try using avocado as a spread on sandwiches instead of mayo, adding avocado to salads and serve guacamole as a dip for sliced veggies or multi-grain tortilla chips.
Beans: All types of beans are full of fiber which helps to lower cholesterol levels, add in beans to soup, salads and rice dishes to increase the fiber. If you're worried about kids picking them out, opt for light colored beans like pinto beans to help them blend in better.