(c) 2011 peggy kotsopoulosdesigned by eukini
Love is in the air. Amongst romance, chocolate, and being struck by cupid, there is one thing to be mindful of during this month of love (and always): Your most important Valentine is, well, yourself! After all, you want to make sure your heart is in tip-top shape before you go giving it to someone else. Here are four healthful tips to keep you—and your ticker—ticking. And lovin’!
1) Add heart-healthy Fats
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are one of the most important nutrients when it comes to improving overall heart health. Omega 3s lower the risk of coronary artery disease, reduces blood clotting and lowers blood pressure. In addition, not only do they powerfully lower blood triglyceride levels, they raise “good” cholesterol (HDL), helping to eliminate “bad” cholesterol (LDL). And at roughly 48%, Savi Seeds contain the highest plant-based source of Omega-3 fatty acids… in the world! Other good Omega 3 sources include: chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds and walnuts.
Monounsaturated Fats are heart-healthy fats that help lower ‘bad’ cholesterol, normalize blood clotting and protect against heart disease. Olives, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and avocados are excellent sources. Avocados also contain 10 grams of fiber helping to improve heart health and packs in more than 3x the amount of potassium than bananas helping to regulate blood pressure. Sources of monounsaturated fats include: Nuts (almonds, walnuts) avocado, olives, seeds (sesame seeds)
2) Increase Fiber
A diet high in dietary fiber—in particular, soluble fiber—has been shown to help lower blood cholesterol levels. Fiber binds onto cholesterol, absorbs it and helps your body eliminate it. You should be aiming to get 25 grams of fiber per day. Plant-based foods are the only sources of fibre. Amongst the highest are: black beans, lentils, chia seeds, avocado, raspberries, blueberries
3) Reduce stress
Chronic stress is linked to high blood pressure, irregular heart beats, chest pain and increased risk of heart attack. In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, European researches concluded that those with the highest levels of stress hormone cortisol, had an increased risk of death from heart disease. Is all this stressing you out? Try incorporating more stress-reduction practices into you lifestyle (such as yoga, meditation, or simply, taking time to breathe), as well as incorporating more nutrient-dense, stress-busting foods. Some stress busting foods and supplements include: Maca, Relora, B-vitamins, Holy Basil (Tulsi) Tea, almonds, bananas, sweet potatoes and whole grains.
Exercise is a sure way to quickly drop cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of heart disease by raising HDL. Physical activity can also help to reduce excess weight, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Go on, shake that booty, snack on some delicious Omega 3s, seek out soluble fiber and give yourself—and your heart—some love!