Healthy heart

We care about keeping our hearts healthy and ticking for a long time! And, we want the same for each of you, too. In case you need a reminder, or some suggestions, of what to put on your grocery list, we’ve put together some of the top foods and snacks to help.

Fatty Fish
Healthy heart maintenance includes adding fatty fish to your diet. These all have omega-3 fatty acids and are great sources of protein:
– Salmon
– Albacore
– Tuna
– Sardines
– Oysters
– Herring

Leafy Greens
The dark leafy ones, especially. Salad greens, spinach, kale, swiss chard, collard and mustard greens are rich in vitamins A, C, E and K. All their calcium, magnesium and potassium are extremely vital to heart health.

Since they’re loaded with fiber, which helps lower cholesterol levels, dark leafy greens help prevent constipation and they keep you feeling full longer. A healthy heart means we’re at a healthy weight, so, eat more greens!

Seeds and Nuts
And make sure they’re unsalted, please! No sugar or seasonings, either. Just plain old nuts! And then grab a small handful to snack on and soak up the potassium, magnesium and other minerals that lower high blood pressure. The omega-3s also can help with protecting us from heart disease. Friendly reminder: nuts are high in calories so go easy.

Beets
Yes, beets. They lower our blood pressure and, depending on the intake, it can lower significantly in just a day. Beet juice is the best way to go since it’s a source of betalain, which is a potent antioxidant and highly anti-inflammatory. Both of those are fantastic for treating things like arthritis and heart failure, which are caused by chronic inflammation.

Avocados
They’re loaded with nutrients and ideally, it’s best to eat one a day. If you struggle with blood pressure issues, doing so could be enough to even keep you off blood pressure medication. (Always consult your doctor first before trying a new diet!)

Legumes
Legumes are a staple in a heart-healthy diet and you have all sorts of options to choose from. All sorts of beans, for example, like lentils, chickpeas and black-eyed peas.

But, remember that if you’re eating the canned versions, watch out for the salt! Salt raises our blood pressure, among other things, and that defeats the purpose. Just make sure to rinse off that excess salt water beforehand. Actually, do that with any canned food. Get the salt out of there!

Low-fat dairy products
Cheese, yogurt, milk can also help reduce blood pressure. Remember to keep it low-fat for heart health.

And notable mentions: olive oil (to drizzle over your leafy green salad) and oats!
Overall, the key to a healthy heart is a low-sodium diet. It may seem like a slightly strange list heart healthy items, but it’s important to have a balanced diet. It’s actually better to eat a variety of healthy foods and snacks. Besides, don’t we all get bored with eating the same foods repeatedly?!

So, remember that a huge part of maintaining a healthy heart is to watch your sodium!

About the writer:  Chaukei Ngai

I was born in Hong Kong, two months premature and because my lungs were not developed enough to breath on my own, I was put on a ventilator. My whole young life, I always felt like I was struggling just to catch my breath, and many took many trips to the hospital in order to get oxygen. This went on till I was in my 20’s. Then, when I was student at York University in Toronto, I went to my first yoga class and my life completely changed. I’ve never looked back. It was the first time I ever experienced a real connection to my body. I found my passion, and my calling. I found stillness. Eight short years after that Bikram’s class in Toronto, I became the International Yoga Asana Champion. And I have my beautiful son who does yoga with me. I always say that Yoga taught me how to breathe, but it’s also the fire in my life that propels me forward, both spiritually and competitively.

Chaukei

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