Six Heart Healthy Foods to Enjoy this Fall
The crisp days of autumn are just around the corner. You’re eager to start enjoying the rich, familiar foods of fall, but you remember that your doctor encouraged you to start incorporating more “heart healthy” foods into your diet. What are heart healthy foods, and how do they benefit your internal wellbeing?
When we say “heart healthy” foods, we’re referring to foods that are packed with nutrients known to influence factors like blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and plaque buildup, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.
How amazing would it feel to eat foods you normally enjoy this time of year, knowing they’re contributing to a more youthful heart and longer life? With seasonal favorites like apples, walnuts, and cranberries chock full of heart-benefitting nutrients, incorporating more heart healthy foods into your autumn cuisine has never been easier.
Here’s our roundup of six delicious, heart healthy foods you can start planning your autumn snacks and meals around.
If there’s any food that reminds us of golden days of autumn, it’s crisp, sweet apples. Studies have shown that quercetin, a flavonoid present in apples, may prevent aortic plaque buildup. The buildup of aortic plaque (atherosclerosis) can lead to heart disease, and even cardiac arrest.
If you're looking to add more heart healthy foods to your diet, try finding some fall recipes that incorporate apples while they’re in season!
Carving a pumpkin with the kids this fall? Don’t throw out the seeds! Pumpkin seeds' high magnesium concentration aids in regulating and lowering blood pressure. This result explains why diets rich in magnesium are linked to a reduced risk of heart attack and stroke.
According to studies, the antioxidants in pumpkin seeds also raise your body's nitric oxide levels. This chemical acts to maintain the health, flexibility, and smoothness of your blood vessels, enhancing blood flow and lowering your risk of heart and circulation issues.
So the next time you carve a pumpkin, try washing the seeds and lightly roasting them for a heart-healthy snack or crunchy salad topper.
Few foods are more synonymous with autumn than tart, vibrant cranberries. Cranberries are full of proanthocyanidins, chemical compounds which give certain fruits and flowers their bright red or purple colors. The proanthocyanidins found in cranberries are particularly special and differ from other fruits' polyphenols in terms of their qualities. It has been discovered that cranberries boost blood levels of polyphenols and other metabolites, which can lower blood sugar levels, prevent blood clots, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Don’t shy away from including cranberries in your daily meals this autumn – they’ll put you in the fall spirit and boost your heart health.
Turkey Bone Broth
If you’re craving a warm fall beverage, try making some bone broth made from leftover turkey bones. Bone broth is reported to be rich in gelatin (a protein), which has been shown to promote heart health by lowering cholesterol levels in the blood. It may also improve blood vessel function by increasing nitric oxide production—which allows blood vessels to widen so more blood can flow through them. That’s not all: consuming gelatin can increase collagen intake for joint health, flexibility, and skin firmness.
Try preparing some bone broth with a bit of cocoa powder, your milk of choice, and maple syrup for a rich, comforting cup of hot chocolate.
Like apples, onions contain quercetin, a phytochemical that may help prevent cholesterol accumulation on the walls of arteries. Organic sulfur compounds are also found in onions, which are to blame for onions' acrid, overpowering flavor and odor. Your risk of heart disease and stroke is decreased by eating onions, because those pungent organic sulfur compounds help lower the level of cholesterol in your body and may also assist with dissolving blood clots.
Onions make for an easy and flavourful addition to many savory fall dishes. Try adding them to soups, stews, pastas, stir frys, and more.
Sprinkle them on a salad, add them into desserts, or eat a small handful as a daily snack – walnuts are a classic addition to any fall menu. These nutrient-packed nuts are known for lowering blood pressure and preserving healthy cholesterol levels, two of the key risk factors for heart disease. Additionally, the omega-3 fatty acids which are abundant in walnuts have been linked to improved cardiovascular health.
See the difference healthy foods can make with iHeart
We hope this article has inspired you to add these nutritious, seasonal foods into your meals this fall. If you’ve started eating more heart healthy foods and want to see the difference they’re making on your internal wellness, the iheart Device can show you.The iheart Device and family of apps is a convenient, non-invasive way to get real-time insights into your internal health and easily track how positive lifestyle choices improve your physical wellbeing. It’s the only consumer oximeter on the market to measure your internal age and aortic stiffness, two proven indicators of heart health. By using the device to check in with your heart on a regular basis, you can see the difference smart health choices can make and feel empowered to continue living a heart-healthy lifestyle.