Whether young or old, everyone can benefit from knowing how to prevent heart disease. And who doesn’t love a yummy snack? We know we need to exercise, eat right and see a doctor regularly to make sure our hearts stay healthy, but did you know that keeping a healthy heart can be enjoyable? Here are some delicious, heart-healthy snacks to satisfy your cravings and keep your heart strong at the same time:
- Apples: With all these newfangled super fruits filling the produce aisle at your neighborhood grocery store, you almost forgot the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” didn’t you? Well it’s time to resurrect it because apples are number one on this list of heart healthy snacks. Apples are serious sources of heart-loving anti-oxidants, second only to cranberries, and also contain pectin, a fiber that does wonders for cardiovascular health and lowers bad (LDL) cholesterol. Personally, I like to use this anti-inflammatory fruit in place of crackers and top it with healthy goat cheese or creamy almond butter. Or, dice your apple up and add it to any salad for a sweet, juicy crunch.
- Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas): This legume may not seem like much of a comfort snack at first glance, but mash those babies up into some homemade hummus and you have yourself a heart-healthy, crowd-pleasing dip. Garbanzo beans are so good for your heart because they contain lots of potassium, anti-oxidants, cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber and plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids that your heart craves. Hummus goes great on everything from whole wheat pita, to veggies and even eggs.
- Almonds: Go wild and allow yourself some powerful crunch. Almonds are delicious and filling and, you guessed it, great for your heart. They also are wonderful sources of Omega-3 fatty acids as well as fiber, potassium and magnesium which helps to lower and maintain healthy blood pressure, which in turn prevents added strain on the heart. To get the best benefit, go for the unsalted, raw almonds or almond butter. Mix almonds in a salad, slather almond butter on toast or just eat these crunchy bad boys by the handful.
- Blueberries: When my nephew was 2 years old, his favorite snack was frozen blueberries. He’s so smart! Blueberries will squelch any sugar craving and can be added to desserts, salads, smoothies, you name it. And of course, they treat your heart like royalty. Blueberries protect your heart on a cellular level with their antioxidants, manganese and vitamins C and E. They can also plaque buildup in the arteries and protect blood vessels all the while lowering bad cholesterol, raising good cholesterol and regulating blood pressure.
- Dark Chocolate: And you thought you couldn’t have any fun while taking care of your heart. Allow yourself to indulge in a little dark chocolate every day and you can cut your risk of cardiovascular disease by an incredible 21 percent, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal. Thanks to the flavanols in cocoa, you’ll reap benefits like decreased blood pressure and fewer clogged arteries resulting in a reduced risk of heart attack and stroke. Just limit yourself to one ounce per day. Try melting it and pouring it over apples or blueberries for an added heart-healthy kick.
Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.
Image Credit: Divine 70% Dark Chocolate Hearts Close up outer by Lee McCoy. Used under creative commons license.
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