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American Heart Month: Foods for a Healthy Heart

isn't just about roses and chocolates;
it's also American Heart Month! Every 33 seconds, one person in the U.S. dies of cardiovascular disease. The good news is heart disease and cardiovascular events can be largely prevented through nutrition and lifestyle! Keep reading to learn what foods are considered heart healthy and how to incorporate them into your eating plan.

Omega-3 Rich Fatty Fish

Incorporate fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and trout into your meals at least once a week for heart health. These are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which support heart health by reducing inflammation and promoting optimal cholesterol levels.

Colorful Berries

Add a burst of flavor and antioxidants to your diet with berries. Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are packed with polyphenols, fiber, and vitamins which are good for the heart.

Oats and Whole Grains

Start your day right with a heart-healthy bowl of oatmeal. Whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and whole wheat are excellent sources of fiber, which helps lower cholesterol levels.

Leafy Greens

Load up on leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard. These greens are rich in heart healthy vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Add a side salad to your meals or include a green smoothie for a snack!

Nuts and Seeds

Snack on a handful of almonds, walnuts, or chia seeds. Nuts and seeds also make delicious salad and smoothie bowl toppings. These nutrient-dense options provide heart-healthy fats, fiber, and essential nutrients.


Avocado is not just a trendy toast topping; it's a heart-healthy superfood. Packed with monounsaturated fats, potassium, and fiber, avocados can contribute to lower cholesterol levels.


Beans, lentils, and chickpeas are excellent plant-based sources of protein, fiber, and various heart-protective nutrients. Incorporate them into soups, salads, or main dishes for a heart-healthy boost. Challenge yourself to cook 1-2 legume-centered, meatless meals a week.

Dark Chocolate

Indulge your sweet tooth with dark chocolate. Rich in antioxidants, dark chocolate has been associated with heart health benefits. Choose varieties with at least 70% cocoa content for maximum benefits.

Olive Oil

Opt for heart-healthy cooking oils like extra virgin olive oil. Its monounsaturated fats may help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Colorful Vegetables

Include a rainbow of vegetables in your meals. Bell peppers, tomatoes, and carrots are not only vibrant but also rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that support heart health.

Now it’s time to put this nutrition knowledge into practice! Here are heart healthy recipes provided by the American Heart Association at this link. Happy American Heart Month!

Emma Nelson is a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer. Emma is available remotely for all things nutrition related, whether it be general nutrition, pre/post op nutrition, rehab nutrition, or sports nutrition.

PHONE: 615.477.0602

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