How to eat heart healthy foods

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When it comes to eating heart healthy, it's not just what you avoid eating that matters. There are lots of foods that literally do your heart good, according to Mary Bolster, Editor-In-Chief of Natural Health Magazine. Here are some suggestions for heart healthy foods.

How to eat heart healthy foods

To reduce the risk of heart disease you can do more than just eliminate saturated fats (pass on that bacon cheeseburger...) from your diet. Research has found that there are five categories of heart healthy foods. Your goal should be to have a sprinkling of all of the best foods for the heart each week:

1. Antioxidants
Examples: papaya, sweet potatoes, green tea

2. Anti-inflammatories
Examples: asparagus, chocolate

3. Omega-3 fatty acids
Examples: herring, walnuts

4. Soluble fiber
Examples: oatmeal, brown rice

5. Potassium
Examples: bananas, tomatoes

It's simple to incorporate these foods into your diet, and you needn't obsess about eating only heart healthy foods at every meal. A typical heart healthy breakfast might include a cup of oatmeal sprinkled with walnuts and dried plums, and orange juice on the side. And dinner might be a serving of pan-fried herring with brown rice. Use a cup of green tea as broth for the rice and you've got an easy way to prepare a yummy meal with heart healthy foods.

Transcript STACEY: I’m Stacey Tisdale for howdini. If you’re trying to reduce your risk of heart disease through diet, you probably know you should pass on that bacon and cheese burger. But there’s a lot more to heart-healthy eating than just avoiding saturated fats. Mary Bolster is editor in chief of Natural Health magazine. Mary thank you so much for joining us.

MARY: Stacey, it’s really nice to be here, thanks.

STACEY: And first, what makes a food heart-healthy?

MARY: Well, we did a little research at Natural Health and we came up with five categories of a heart-boosting food. So they are antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, omega-three fatty acids, um, potassium, and soluble fiber.

STACEY: What are some examples of food in that category?

MARY: Okay well there’s a lot of really fun food out there that’s heart boosting. Um, you’re got asparagus and chocolate which are anti-inflammatories--

STACEY: Chocolate, that’s good news.

MARY: I know! And then, uh, for antioxidants there’s green tea. There’s sweet potatoes and papaya. Omega-three fatty acids you’ve got herring and walnuts. And then for soluble fiber you’ve got oatmeal.

STACEY: Is there an easy way to get these foods into our diets?

MARY: Okay, here’s a really good heart-healthy breakfast: you heat up a bowl of oatmeal, you sprinkle it with walnuts and dried plums, and then you have a glass of orange juice on the side cause orange juice is really good for your heart as well.

STACEY: Oh that sounds good.

MARY: Mm-hmm. That’s pretty easy. Then another one would be for dinner you could, um, pan-fry some herring and make some brown rice with that, and put a cup of green tea into the broth of the brown rice and you’ve got a nice heart-healthy dinner for you.

STACEY: How much of these foods should we be eating and how often should we eat them?

MARY: I think that if you’re getting sort of a sprinkling of all of these foods in a week you’re going to be fine. Definitely don’t obsess about having a cup of walnuts every day and a slice of herring every week. You just don’t, you don’t have to get too crazy about it. Just try to have one of these foods in your diet once a week.

STACEY: Great advice Mary Bolster, editor in chief of Natural Health magazine. Thank you so much for joining us.

MARY: Thank you Stacey I appreciate it. Thanks.
meet theexpert
  • Mary Bolster

    Mary Bolster Editor-in-Chief, Natural Health Currently editor-in-chief at Natural Health, Mary Bolster started her career at TravelAge West, a travel trade magazine in San Francisco. more about this expert »

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