Heart disease still ranks as the #1 killer for Americans. Roughly every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a heart attack, and every 5 minutes someone dies from a stroke. These are health conditions that are too well known in our country and many times the condition runs prevalent within many of our families. While healthy living such as exercise, sleep, and genetics play a huge part, your diet does as well. There are a couple of foods you can enjoy that will help maintain your heart health, as well as increase your quality of life!
Not everyone has had the luxury of indulging in yummy chickpeas, probably because they did not know enough about them to want to try them out. Chickpeas are loaded with healthy proteins that will lower your blood cholesterol levels. Not only will your body thank you, but your appetite will thank you as well because you will stop craving sugars and carbs with this nutrient dense snack. They are also known as garbanzo beans, and you can incorporate them into salsa’s, salads, or simply enjoy them by themselves.
Yummy Roasted Spicy Chickpeas (4 servings)
- 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons of spice mixture (a curry, Moroccan, or Mexican spice)
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Drain and rinse chickpeas in a colander. Pat dry.
- Toss chickpeas in a medium-sized bowl with olive oil, sea salt, and spices.
- Arrange chickpeas on a baking sheet in a single layer.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until crispy. While baking, shake pan to avoid burning.
- Transfer to a serving bowl.
Sprinkle and toss with more spices (optional)
Dried Tart Cherries
This one may seem rather random to some people, but it definitely has benefits! These will be some of the tastiest and colorful additions you can add to your diet, and they will naturally serve as a good source of copper. If you are unsure of the benefits of copper, it naturally helps keep your tissues strong as well as protect you from free radicals. There are many ways to incorporate dried cherries into your diet, such as eating them as is, or making a yummy sauce out of them to put on chicken, salmon, or turkey!
Yes, you read this correctly! Dark chocolate has been proven to be a heart healthy food! Please keep in mind that in order for chocolate to reap antioxidant benefits it needs to be at least 75% or higher cocoa count and no more than 1 oz. per day. Dark chocolate has been known to lower your blood pressure, as well as reduce inflammation in the body. Don’t go overboard on consuming dark chocolate, as one ounce contains 9 grams of fat. The calories and fat levels will add up if you consume an entire chocolate bar in one sitting.
The foods highlighted above are only skimming the surface, as there are a multitude of healthy food choices that will strengthen your ticker, as well as keep your body healthy and happy long term. Other heart healthy foods such as salmon, oatmeal, blueberries, and tomatoes are great options to incorporate into your heart healthy diet! Enjoy the delicious foods that will keep your heart healthy and strong!