This page will contain a group of heart healthy diet foods. This will be one building block in the process of avoiding heart disease and the other cardiovascular system conditions associated with the number one killer of men and women in America.
You'll need to add the the other parts of the four chambers of heart health as well. You can find that image in the right margin of every page at books-empower.com. This page will also help with the education chamber. I'll include some links to other pages on related topics to help you too. A while back we discussed what to avoid. Now we're working on what to include in our meals.
As I mentioned in the page about the Mediterranean diet, I think that second word causes us to lose people. When some of us read "diet", they think weight loss, rather than lifestyle. If they are not overweight, the subject seems to not apply. The page will help anyone lose weight if they need to do so. But an even more important message will be that this list of heart healthy diet foods will help you strengthen your heart and greatly reduce your risk of heart disease.
One caveat to this page would be that if have already had a cardiac event, you must follow to the letter, the directions of your cardiologist. More than likely he will demand a complete plant based diet. Dr. Chauncey Crandall presented the diet he prescribes for his cardiac patients in his great book "Fix It." He expands on those ideas in his follow up book, "The Simple Heart Cure."
So here is a list of heart healthy diet foods. There are endless recipes available using these choices. I'll be adding some as we go along in this assault on cardiovascular disease. Use your imagination to create new ideas. Mix and match the list of components.
Remember to do two important things. Reward yourself for work well done. And forgive yourself if you slip up. We're fighting years of food industry programming that coaxed us into bad eating habits. But now we know.
Salmon is loaded with omega 3 fatty acid. I included a really good recipe for an omelet made with salmon. A healthy heart begins with breakfast. We grill throughout the year. Even in these rugged Michigan winters. Throw some fresh salmon on the grill. It doesn't take too long and is so good for you. Maybe make a little extra and you can save it for a lunch salad on the following day. Nearly all cold water fish are very healthy.
Tuna is another really good source of omega 3 fatty acid as well as niacin. Tuna can be used in so many ways. Be sure to get the water packed version. Much of the good stuff clings to the oil packed version and is lost when the tuna can is drained.
Chicken is on this list of heart healthy diet foods. It isn't as good as fish, but we need some variety to make this work. Grill it once in a while and include some great fresh vegetables.
It is OK to have a hamburger on occasion as well. Enjoy a night out after your successful week of protecting your heart. Did you know you can order it without the bun? If you can keep red meat consumption down to a few times per month and make sure fruits and vegetables are on your list everyday, you'll make good progress. Here is an example for you to try.
Oatmeal has so many good things in it. Omega 3 and niacin again, calcium and lots of fiber. I would suggest you toss some fresh berries into that hot oatmeal. It is a good breakfast idea. Or a good warm up lunch after yet another day of shoveling snow.
Flaxseed is becoming more and more recognized as a great addition to any list of heart healthy diet foods. You can grind it and add it to salads or cereal or as a cookie ingredient. Flaxseed oil is another good cooking base.
Beans are excellent sources of protein. Chick peas,( garbanzo beans) are fabulous sources of all the nutrients we've already listed. That link I just added to the chick peas includes a really nice snack idea. So easy and so good. Black beans and kidney beans are great as well.
Sweet potatoes are one of the best vegetables for a health heart. On that same page that featured the chick pea recipe, you'll also find a really good one using sweet potatoes. This is a household favorite for our family.
Nearly all vegetables including carrots, broccoli, romaine lettuce and red bell peppers make this list of heart healthy diet foods. Cut up and eaten or cooked as ingredients. Every day, one or more of these need to be on your plate. As well as...
Fresh fruits. Cantaloupe, tomatoes, ( yes, these are really fruits, not vegetables), papaya, (try this one with that grilled salmon), and nearly any kind of berry. Blueberries are my personal favorite because even if you freeze them, they will not lose their nutritional value. Or their flavor. Oranges are also very good for this list.
Use almonds and dark chocolate for snacks. Yeah, we get dark chocolate. I told you there would be plenty of diversity. I'd suggest walnuts too. There are loads of Vitamin E and omega 3 in walnuts. You can chop them up and put them in salads, pancakes or just eat them by the handful.
For too long, eggs were placed on the list of demon foods during the ill-advised period of low fat/high carbohydrate diet mania. This era was reinforced by the FDA that shirked it's responsibility to oversee what goes into our food. And still fails in that role.
But we've learned from independent research that eggs are actually very good for us. They were always good for us. But "selective science" told us to avoid eggs. That same purchased science tells us that genetically modified food soaked in glyphosate, which is listed as a probable carcinogen is safe. I'll stick with the independent research.
Sun tea. My favorite drink. Fill a pitcher with water, hang three tea bags in the jar and let the sun do the rest. You get a refreshing drink and some healthy nutrients as well.
Now to the subject of bread. Nearly everyone loves bread. For a time, it seemed as though whole wheat was better than white bread. After all, we do stay away from the three white poisons, (white sugar, white salt and white flour.)
But the new research is leaving very little doubt that grains of any kind, at least the modern versions, are linked to many of the chronic diseases that are going up exponentially around the world.
Dr David Perlmutter taught us in his new classic book, "Grain Brain" that too much grain consumption most likely leads to problems associated within the gut microbes and is a driver of increasing Alzheimer's disease numbers.
So I'm suggesting that we cut back on all grains. I've even revised our version of the Mediterranean diet pyramid. I've removed whole grain from the base of that image.
I would suggest you check out the pages about the Mediterranean diet. I think if you follow that plan, you will go so far in protecting your cardiovascular system. That "lifestyle" has everything you need on your list of heart healthy diet foods. The variations are endless and the results of following this plan are indisputable. The fact is that this plan works.
At the end of this page is our image of the Mediterranean diet pyramid. I've made a conscious effort to follow this concept. I'm finding so many different ways to implement the choices. If you choose to do so, you will find even more ways to make this work and make it enjoyable.
Even more important, you'll be helping to knock heart disease out of that number one killer position. It has been there long enough. This partial list of heart healthy diet foods is part of that process.