5 Heart Healthy Foods That Are Actually Pretty Easy To Add To Your Diet
Sometimes I'm overwhelmed by the array of dietary lifestyles that exist. There are people who cut out certain foods, like vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free folks. There are those who support a paleo diet, while others swear by intermittent fasting's benefits. If you're anything like me, it can sometimes feel confusing to have to find one lifestyle that's healthiest for your body, so one thing I like to consider when I'm learning about a new way of eating is what its scientific benefits are. According to a new study, eating plenty of carbs and protein-rich foods can boost your heart health, so if you want to focus on cardiovascular strength, you might want to give this strategy a try.
A new American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study looked at the long-term dietary habits of the Tsimane, an indigenous community in Bolivia. According to ScienceDaily, the researchers found that the Tsimane diet, which is high in carbohydrates and protein and low in fat, seems to be associated with a low risk of heart disease, especially when combined with regular physical activity.
The good news is, according to Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RD, LD/N, nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition, it's not that hard to get a healthy balance of complex carbs, protein, and a little bit of fat into every single meal. "You can absolutely spread the macronutrients throughout the day at your preference," she tells Elite Daily in an email. "This is part of a concept called intuitive eating, which includes the notion that we should choose foods for each meal or snack that sound and look appealing, and not necessarily adhere to a strict 'plate formula.'"
Experiment with some of these tasty foods, but don't give yourself a hard time if you aren't in love with all of them. Just take a note from Ariana Grande and say, "thank you, next," then try something else.
Dine on organic eggs
If breaking a runny yolk over a crisp piece of toast sounds like breakfast heaven to you, then you're off to a good start. Auslander Moreno suggests enjoying some omega 3-fortified organic eggs.
If you've been scared to eat eggs because you've heard that they might be bad for your heart, don't worry, the nutrition consultant says, because the cholesterol is no longer considered to be an issue. Instead, these little guys are simply rich in protein and healthy fats, and yeah, they're pretty dang tasty, too.
Crack open a tin of sardines
You may only encounter these tiny, briny fish on the occasional pizza or Caesar salad, but sardines' heart-healthy benefits make them powerful enough to become the main attraction of a meal. Anything with omega 3 fatty acids may fight inflammation associated with heart disease, says Auslander Moreno. "The most dense and bioavailable sources of omega 3s are in those small, wild-caught fish," she tells Elite Daily.
But many people seem to be squeamish about eating the little creatures, the nutrition consultant adds. "Unfortunately, many people didn't grow up with anchovies or sardines or herring, so they reject these and limit themselves to salmon."
Cook up some farro
If you haven't had a chance to try farro before, it's a grain that tastes, to me at least, like a nuttier version of brown rice, and according to Auslander Moreno, it's a great complex carb to have in your diet. "Complex carbohydrates do not break down to sugar as easily as refined carbohydrates in the body," she explains. "They also tend to have more fiber (which nourishes your gut and can also stabilize blood sugar and cholesterol)."
As if that's enough, complex grains like farro also have more micronutrients than their refined counterparts, says Auslander Moreno, so your body will be thoroughly nourished. If farro isn't your thing, the nutrition consultant also suggests millet and oats as tasty alternatives.
Enjoy a glass of kefir
Kefir, a fermented dairy product, is full of heart-healthy protein, says Auslander Moreno. Just make sure to opt for the unsweetened version of the milky drink, she recommends.
Chow down on some pumpkin
Whenever I hear the word "carbs," I have to admit that I usually think about delicacies like pizza, bagels, or a bowl full of perfectly sauced pasta. But Auslander Moreno says that there's much more to the carb world than just breads or grains. "People forget that vegetables contain carbohydrates," she says.
If you're all about pumpkin season, roast up a pan of the carb-rich veggie for a heart-healthy and delicious dish.