Heart healthy snacks
Here are some heart healthy snacks that are both delicious and nutritious.
Eating healthy isn't always easy, but for those who have high cholesterol and other heart problems, it's a necessity. The good news is that eating heart-healthy snacks need not be boring. Here are a few delicious foods that not only taste good but also do your body good.
Fruit is always a good choice when it comes to eating healthy, and many fruits contain heart-healthy fiber and vitamins that will keep your cardiovascular systems singing. For an added zip, dip your fruit in melted dark chocolate, which contains antioxidants shown to help fight heart disease. Fruit and chocolate? It doesn't get any better than this.
Yogurt and Almonds
Yogurt provides the body with calcium, and the new pro-biotic brands offer an added kick of anti-oxidants, which help fight disease. Almonds are rich in monosaturates that help lower LDL, the bad type of cholesterol that clogs arteries. In addition almonds are a great source of vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids making this delicious combination one of the best heart healthy snacks.
Vegetables and Low-Fat Dip
Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, peppers and carrots are rich in vitamins and nutrients to keep you healthy. In addition, broccoli and other vegetables in the crucifer family are believed to help fight cancer. Colorful vegetables like peppers and carrots contain powerful anti-oxidants, which help repair connective and vascular tissues. As if that weren't enough, vegetables are also delicious making them a perfect snack. To make eating vegetables more convenient, wash and cut up your vegetables when you buy them and store them in the fridge in a Tupperware container. This will make it easy to grab a handful, when you get the munchies.
Nuts and Seeds
A handful of unsalted nuts such as almonds, walnuts and pistachios are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which are good fats needed by the body to be healthy. These nuts also contain vitamin E, which is believed to fight cancer, and heart-healthy protein making nuts a triple threat in the healthy-snack department. Remember not to get carried away; although healthy, nuts are high in calories and a handful a day is enough.
Peanut Butter and Other Nut Butters
Nut butters, including peanut, cashew, almond and others are rich in monounsaturated fats, which help maintain the level of HDL, or healthy cholesterol, in the body. They are also low in saturated fats, sources of vitamin E, folate, magnesium and other essential vitamins and nutrients. Spread them on celery, banana or whole-wheat bread, and you have a great heart healthy snack. For an added kick of fiber, spread peanut butter inside a pita and toss in a few slices of apple. Yum!
Trail mix is one of the best heart healthy snacks around. Making your own with cereals, seeds, raisins and other dried fruits is especially healthy, as it will contain no extra salt and no added fat. Be careful, this mix is high in calories so only eat a handful or two at a time.
While it may seem difficult to snack healthy, there are many foods that deliver taste as well as the nutrients needed to keep your body running at full capacity. Try some of the heart healthy snacks above and see if you don't agree.