It’s the month of love! And while it is always nice to feel your heart skip a beat, it’s also important to make sure that your heart remains in tip-top shape. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and as such, your heart health should be a top priority.
Lucky for you, we have some heart-healthy treats below that you can enjoy all year long and are will make your heart skip a beat — in a good way.
Popcorn lovers, rejoice! Fresh popcorn delivers polyphenols, which is an antioxidant that is linked to improving heart health. Additionally, popcorn is a whole grain, and research has shown that people who have a healthy dose of whole grain in their daily diet tend to be leaner and have lower risk of heart disease than those who don’t.
Recipe Idea: Apple Pie Popcorn (courtesy of Sweet As A Cookie)
Who doesn’t love some dark chocolate? Thankfully, this deliciousness lands on the heart-healthy side of the food pyramid. Researchers have found that eating moderate amounts of flavanol-rich dark chocolate can prove beneficial to your cardiovascular health. It also boosts your immune system and lowers your blood pressure. The trick is to stay away from the milk chocolate and find dark chocolate that has at least 70 percent cocoa solids.
Recipe Idea: Healthy Dark Chocolate (courtesy of All Recipes)
The phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” has a lot of merit when it comes to keeping your heart healthy. In fact, those who eat apples frequently were found to have the lowest risk of suffering strokes compared with non-apple eaters. There is a strong antioxidant flavonoid compound found in apples that play a key role in preventing bad LDL cholesterol and keeps your heart in check.
There are few things more nutritious that a hearty handful of nuts. Full of vitamins, minerals and protein, nuts are great for boosting the health of your heart. Both the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in nuts are helpful in lowering bad cholesterol levels as well as keeping your fuller for longer.
Recipe Idea: Pistachio Pesto Hummus (courtesy of Jackie Newgent)