Heart Health.png


February is a month all about love and hearts. But that doesn’t stop after the 14th! Prioritize health and self-love all month long because February is Heart Health Month.

All of Oldways’ heritage diets provide delicious roadmaps to healthier and happier lifestyles. However, there are a few foods in particular that are extra nourishing. Here are ten of our favorite ingredients to incorporate into your overall healthy diet if you want to start showing your heart a little extra love:

iStock-1005290734 olives and olive oil.jpg

1. Olive oilOlive oil is the ultimate Oldways pantry staple. It has been the hallmark of the Mediterranean Diet for thousands of years. The fats in all types of olive oil are primarily monounsaturated fats. Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood, which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells.

If you want to start using more olive oil, give this heart-healthy recipe a try: White Fish Garnished with Lemon, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and Capers

2. Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, and peanuts are just a few tasty and healthy nuts to savor. They provide protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals that can help prevent heart attacks. Some nuts contain plant sterols, a substance that can lower cholesterol, and walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are linked with lower levels of bad cholesterol. A small handful is all it takes to reap the nutritional rewards of these little gems.

Walnut Wilted Spinach Salad

If you want to start using more nuts, give this heart-healthy recipe a try: Wilted Spinach Salad with Grilled Onions, Walnuts, Avocado and Apple

3. Avocados: Smooth, buttery, and needing nothing but a quick “nick and peel” to eat as a healthy snack, this super food contains monosaturated (“good”) fat and is linked to reduced risk of chronic diseases.

If you want to start using more avocados, give this heart-healthy recipe a try: Grilled Salmon with Avocado Tarragon Sauce

4. Salmon (and other fatty fish, like tuna): Fish such as salmontuna and sardines are rich in essential heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have found that eating oily fish can lower blood pressure and reduce fat build-up in the arteries.

a portion of cooked salmon with olives and herbs on a white plate resting on a wooden table

If you want to start using more salmon, give this heart-healthy recipe a try: Mediterranean Salmon with Olives

5. Seeds (pumpkin, flax, sesame): Like nuts, seeds are excellent sources of healthy fats and pack nutritious punches of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Basically, seeds can do it all!

If you want to start using more seeds, give this heart-healthy recipe a try: Yucatan Bean and Pumpkin Seed Appetizer

6. Beans and legumes: Legumes – sometimes called pulses – include beanslentils and peas. They are low in fat, filled with fiber and a great source of plant-based protein. Lentils have significant levels of heart-protecting folate and magnesium, and beans contain phytosterols that may help reduce blood cholesterol levels.

Yucatan Bean Pumpkin Seed Appetizer

If you want to start using more beans and legumes, give this heart-healthy recipe a try: Tuna with White Beans, Celery, and Peppers

7. Leafy greens: Although eating an abundance of fruits and vegetables is recommended for any balanced diet, green leafy vegetables, in particular – such as lettuce, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, dandelion and mustard greens – are most strongly associated with decreased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

If you want to start using more leafy greens, give this heart-healthy recipe a try: Stir Fried Whole Grain Noodles with Mushrooms, Kale and Crumbled Tempeh

stir fried whole grain noodles with kale, mushrooms, and tempeh

8. Whole grains: Many whole grains, including oatmeal, bulgur, quinoa and barley, are a good or excellent source of fiber that can improve blood cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease. They also contain a range of heart-loving vitamins and minerals including B vitamins and magnesium. People who eat more whole grains have a significantly lower risk for heart disease, stroke, and other diseases.

If you want to start using more whole grains, give this heart-healthy recipe a try and check out our Whole Grains Council pageWhole Grain Panzanella Salad with Tomatoes and Olives

9. Berries: All fruits are a healthy choice and berries especially so. They contain high amounts of antioxidants including anti-inflammatory polyphenols that can help repair or delay cell damage that can cause heart disease. Berries also provide fiber, a heart-healthy nutrient.

overnight oatmeal with berries

If you want to start using more berries, give this heart-healthy recipe a try: Banana Berry Overnight Oats

10. Garlic: This little ingredient does more than pack a flavorful punch. Garlic contains allicin, a compound that can lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

If you want to start using more garlic, give this heart-healthy recipe a try: Roasted Garlic and Eggplant Dip

This month is just a starting point when it comes to heart health – these are foods that your heart will love year-round! Keep in mind that consuming these ingredients as part of a well-balanced range of foods is key when following any of our heritage diets. In addition to the food itself, enjoying meals with loved ones and exercising consistently are central to maintaining a happy and healthy lifestyle.

To get more recipe inspiration with the ingredients listed here, check out our recipe page!

Want biweekly Heritage Diet information and recipes in your Inbox? Sign up for our Fresh Fridays newsletter by clicking the Subscribe button at the bottom of this page!

Add a Comment