The heart is an amazing muscle. Did you know the heart has the ability to beat over 3 billion times in a person’s lifetime? February is Heart Month and the perfect time to focus on heart health.

Living a healthy lifestyle is the best way to keep your heart in shape. This includes getting 30 minutes of heart pumping physical activity five days a week; knowing your numbers like blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels; and maybe most importantly, eating well.

Eating a diet that includes a variety of plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and limits saturated fat and sodium can help support a healthy heart. Include these key heart protective foods regularly in your diet:

  • Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, collards, arugula and other similar veggies contain heart healthy nutrients like folate, fiber and antioxidants that are protective for the cardiovascular system.
  • Whole grains contain dietary fiber that can improve cholesterol levels as well as B vitamins, magnesium, iron and selenium.
  • Fish are a source of lean protein and heart friendly omega-3 fats commonly found in fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and herring. Vegetarian sources include walnuts and flaxseed. Fish is a good source of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), whereas nuts and seeds contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
  • Beans, peas, and lentils are a source of plant protein and dietary fiber which reduces the risk for cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Not only are these foods good for you, but they’re delicious too!

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