I just read an article on 8 top heart healthy foods at ScienceDaily. You may also find like I have that everything on the list is a delicious favorite food! The only part of this top 8 list is that it may be challenging for some is in locating the best quality, so I’ve included links to the sources I have found to be the very best.
In the article Susan Ofria, a registered dietitian at the Loyola University Health System’s Melrose Park campus, states;
“You are not even choosing between the lesser of two evils, red wine and dark chocolate have positive components that are actually good for your heart.”
“Resveratrol, which lowers blood sugar, is found in red wine and dark chocolate making them heart-healthy choices for everyone this Valentine’s Day and beyond.”
Red wine and dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70 percent or higher contain resveratrol, which has been found to lower blood sugar. Red wine is also a source of catechins, which could help improve “good” HDL cholesterol.
Ofria, who is also a nutrition educator, recommends the following list of heart-healthy ingredients for February, which is national heart month, and for good heart health all year, and I have added my opinions and links for you.
8 Top Delicious Heart Healthy Foods
1. Red Wine: “Pinots, shirahs, merlots – All red wines are a good source of catechins and resveratrol to aid ‘good’ cholesterol.” Merlot is our favorite, we also use our drinking Merlot in cooking because we think it tastes better than cheaper cooking wines.
2. Dark Chocolate: 70 percent or higher cocoa content: “Truffles, soufflés and even hot chocolate can be a good source of resveratrol and cocoa phenols (flavonoids) as long as dark chocolate with a high content of cocoa is used.”
This 70 percent Madagascar chocolate is a classic dark. Smooth and bold in flavor. The 70% chocolate bar is perfect if you like the strong flavor of dark chocolate without the bitterness. Ingredients: cocoa beans, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla. Click on the chocolate bar to buy some.
If you like to make your own chocolates (see my easy chocolate truffles recipe) or if you enjoy baking this 70 percent Raw Cacao Bar (case of 6) from Organic Nectars this could be just what you need. As a multi-award winning gourmet raw, vegan, organic sweets and confections, Organic Nectars introduces a line of hand tempered chocolates with a smooth, creamy and balanced taste rivaling some of the world’s finest chocolate, using pure raw, vegan, organic, kosher parve ingredients. Enjoy this dairy free raw bittersweet chocolate bar. Low glycemic, dairy free, vegan, raw premium solid chocolate. Exquisitely smooth taste, texture and mouth feel!
3. Salmon and Tuna: ”Especially white, or albacore tuna and salmon are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and canned salmon contains soft bones that give an added boost of calcium intake.”
All Vital Choice albacore tuna comes from a North Pacific fishery in which smaller boats line-catch individual tuna using the sustainable troll method, which ensures careful handling of each fish, safety for dolphins, and very minimal bycatch.
Thanks to its sustainable harvest and lower mercury content, albacore tuna from this fishery is categorized as “Super Green” by Monterey Bay Aquarium. The rich red color of the canned Salmon is luscious and it’s brimming with healthy Salmon oil is a culinary treat.
If you’ve only had supermarket brands of both salmon and tuna, you are in for a very special surprise!
4. Flaxseeds: “Choose either brown or golden yellow, and have them ground for a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, phytoestrogens.” We enjoy buying Bob’s Red Mill brand of flax seed and flax products. Flaxseed is extremely nutritious when added to baked goods-biscuits, pancakes, waffles, muffins, your favorite yeast bread recipe, or just about anywhere. It is also tasty when added to cooked cereals. Flaxseed is a rich source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
5. Oatmeal: “Cooked for a breakfast porridge or used in breads or desserts, oatmeal is a good source of soluble fiber, niacin, folate and potassium.” Bob’s Red Mill has a terrific assortment of oat products, I love the quality of their products too.
6. Black Beans or Kidney Beans: Good source of niacin, folate, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, soluble fiber. Again, Bob’s Red Mill is the source I like best for grains and beans, I find the quality to be the best.
7. Walnuts and Almonds: ”Both walnuts and almonds contain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium, fiber and heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats.” The nuts from Vital Choice are certified organic and Kosher; this is the only source I am aware of that purchases nuts from the most recent harvest season, they also use thick, re-sealable pouches to maintain freshness.
8. Blueberries, Cranberries, Raspberries, Strawberries: ”Berries are a good source of beta carotene and lutein, anthocyanin, ellagic acid (a polyphenol), vitamin C, folate, potassium and fiber.” Of course in season fresh picked organic berries are best. During winter I rarely buy fresh berries, even when the label reads “organic”, what I do instead is buy frozen berries from Vital Choice. Their berries are picked at the peak of ripeness and flash frozen, we’ve found them to be so much better than any other frozen berry and superior to out of season berries. We especially enjoy their ‘wild’ blueberries, which remind me of the small flavorful wild blueberries I used to pick near a remote bog in the mountains of central Pennsylvania years ago, they are amazing! Click on the berries to get some!
Source: Loyola University Health System. “Dark chocolate and red wine are heart-healthy foods of love, dietitians say.” ScienceDaily, 13 Jan. 2012.
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