According to the American Heart Association, heart disease strikes someone in the U.S. every 43 seconds, and in an average of every 4 minutes, someone dies of a stroke, and it’s the 5th cause of death in the United States. Moreover, a heart attack has been considered as the No.1 killer in America. This is a serious problem, and you could be one who could suffer. Fortunately, there is something you can do in order to take control of your health and avoid heart-related diseases.
Simply by sticking to a healthy and clean diet can significantly decrease the risk of heart-related diseases like stroke and heart attack. February is National Heart Month according to the British Heart Foundation and CDC. Although, there’s no exact time to prioritize heart health because you can do it anytime, take this opportunity to go along with the Heart Month celebration to nourish your heart with whole foods that are truly heart-friendly. Whether you have a heart problem, or not, it’s a smart decision to take care of your heart.
When you take care of your heart by eating healthy foods such as the ones listed below, it creates a domino effect because it’s not just the heart will benefit from eating them, but the entire body. In addition, the Heart Month of February also celebrates Valentine’s day. Hence, it’s a good way to treat yourself with these aphrodisiacs, which you and your partner can enjoy intimate benefits.
1. Wild Salmon
Salmon is rich in healthy unsaturated fats called Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats have been found good for the heart as it lowers bad cholesterol and triglycerides, which is the fat in the blood. Omega-3 fatty acids are also abundant on other foods sources like chia seeds and other wild fishes like tuna, halibut, sardines, etc. Note that, the Omega-3 fats in salmon and other cold-water fishes like the ones mentioned contain DHA and EPA. On the other hand, the Omega-3 fats in nuts like chia seeds and walnuts contain a different type of Omega-3 fats called ALA. However, ALA must be first converted to DHA and EPA so the heart can benefit from it.
Always choose wild salmon over farmed salmon based on the data provided by Prevention.com and Cleveland Clinic. Farm salmon also being feed with antibiotics to keep them away from diseases while wild salmon don’t receive any antibiotic, hence, they’re healthier than farmed salmon. Antibiotics has been a concern lately even though health authorities like the Washington DOH ensures safety, still antibiotics risk is there.
2. Organic Dark Chocolate
Chocolate is probably the most popular gift during Valentine’s day. Why not? It’s the gold standard of aphrodisiac foods. Dark chocolate has been shown to be beneficial for both heart health and romantic occasions. It contains certain antioxidants that are helpful on neutralizing free radicals in the body that can cause a host of health hazards including heart problems.
At the romantic side and even heart’s overall health, the antioxidant contents can help improve blood flow, which can be beneficial to those who are looking for a boost of an intimate evening performance, and even beneficial for those men who using penile pumps as a way to improve erections due to erectile issues as it helps the production of NO(Nitric Oxide), an vital component for proper blood flow, therefore, improving erection quality.
However, it is important to choose organic dark chocolate because not all dark chocolate are created equal. Many of the dark chocolates available contain a high amount of added sugars, which can negate the health benefits of dark chocolate. In addition, the added sugars on it increased the caloric content of the chocolate, and it’s not good news for those who are trying to maintain a healthy weight, or in the process of losing weight. Some might say that it’s OK for just this special occasion and then eat no more. However, the addictive property of sugar can result to eating more of it everyday. So, aim at eating or giving your partner an organic dark chocolate.
Everything is good in moderation, but how much is moderate? So, be cautious when you eat dark chocolate because the sugar negates its benefits as mentioned. On the other hand, it may not be a good idea to eat too much of a good thing, so just eat enough, and how much is enough? Researchers suggested eating 6.7 grams per day of dark chocolate, which equates to a bit less less than half of a bar each week.
Chickpeas are also known as garbanzo beans, and it’s not heard most when it comes to heart health benefits. However, it’s a part of the Mediterranean lifestyle, which is a lifestyle eating experts called an anti-inflammatory diet, and according to WHFoods, there were studies conducted on garbanzo beans that showed potential benefits for heart health. One of the studies is published at the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism examined the outcomes of garbanzo beans on adults’ blood cholesterol. The researchers concluded;
Inclusion of chickpeas in an intervention diet results in lower serum total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels as compared with a wheat-supplemented diet.
Concord Grape Juice
You don’t hear much buzz on concord grape juice when it comes to heart health benefits. The substance in concord grape juice is believed to have similar properties to that of red wine’s resveratrol and flavonoids. One study conducted by University of Wisconsin scientists found an improved blood flow and lowered oxidation of LDL on the subjects after two weeks. Here’s how to make your own concord grape juice.
One study published at the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found inclusion of pistachios within a healthy diet has beneficial effects on lowering risk of cardiovascular disease. Another  suggest that consuming 1.5 ounces of nuts like pistachios on a daily basis may help lower risk of heart disease.
6. Dried Tart Cherries
Dried fruits come in hand during the winter months, and dried tart cherries are among them. Dried tart cherries contain a naturally occurring chemical called anthocyanins, which is a type of flavonoid. One study found that a diet including flavanones and anthocyanidins along with other flavonoid-rich foods reduce risk of heart-related deaths.
There you have the list of 6 foods you can enjoy during the heart month and romantic celebration. However, it is highly recommended to continue eating them on regular throughout the entire year. They’re healthy and don’t just consider eating them on special occasions. Make it habit to consume these foods and gradually get rid of the junk foods.