You grab a bite to eat and a cup of coffee on the way to work. Then, between your back-to-back meetings, you pick up a quick snack to keep you going. Sound familiar? Surviving on quick snacks can quickly become the norm. The problem is that what you eat can have a significant impact on your heart health. It can be tough to make a change in your diet. To get you started, we’ve pulled together a list of six delicious heart-healthy foods to eat on the go.
Must-Have Foods for a Heart-Healthy Diet
A healthy diet can do wonders for your mood, confidence, weight, and heart. Although you might already know that certain foods are good for your heart, putting healthy eating habits into practice can be hard.
By eating plenty of heart-healthy foods, you can help reduce your risk of developing heart disease and stroke. To get the most heart benefits, choose more fruits and vegetables with plenty of whole grains and healthy proteins. You should also limit foods with added sugar and unhealthy fats.
Scientists have found that what you eat can influence your risk of dying from heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or stroke. The risk of death from these three diseases is associated with a diet high in salt, processed and unprocessed meat, and sugar-sweetened beverages.
What’s more, the risk of death is higher among people who don’t eat enough nuts and seeds, whole grains, or polyunsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats are considered healthy fats. You can find these healthy fats in foods like walnuts, fish, and sunflower seeds.
Diet, Heart Disease, and Hypertension
In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death. Every 37 seconds, one person dies from cardiovascular disease. All of this costs the U.S. $219 billion every year in healthcare services, medicines, and lost productivity. Statistics on heart disease are scary and are showing no signs of improvement.
Diet and nutrition play an essential role in the prevention of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. Hypertension is another name for high blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force in which a person’s blood pushes out against the walls of their blood vessels. High blood pressure can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Several things may contribute to hypertension, like:
- Too much salt in the diet
- Lack of physical activity
- Too much alcohol
- Being overweight or obese
What you eat can either support you or hold you back. Over recent years, the role that diet and nutrition play in disease has become apparent. Although it feels almost effortless to pick up a quick snack on the go, you’re not doing your heart any favors. By incorporating heart-healthy snacks into your day, you can support your heart and eat delicious foods at the same time. Whether your diet needs just a few tweaks, or you need to completely revamp a long-standing unhealthy diet, you can look after your heart with better food choices.
6 Heart-Healthy Foods to Eat on the Go
In between work, kids, friends, and sleep, meal-prepping can feel like a struggle. Whether you have a few minutes to get your lunch ready or want to grab a snack bar on your way out, here are six heart-healthy foods to eat when you’re on the move.
- Lesser Evil Himalayan Pink Popcorn
- Off the Eaten Path Veggie Crisps
- Dark Chocolate
- Thunderbird Cashew + Fig + Carrot Real Food Bar
Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are all packed with heart-boosting nutrients. Berries are rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins. Antioxidants help protect against antioxidative stress and inflammation, both of which can contribute to heart disease.
Oxidative stress refers to an imbalance of antioxidants and free radicals in the body. This imbalance can lead to tissue and cell damage. A large collection of research suggests that long-term oxidative stress contributes to the development of several diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Berries tend to be low in calories and high in nutrients. Blueberries are one of the most nutrient-dense berries. Just one cup of blueberries contains four grams of fiber and 24% of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin C.
2. Lesser Evil Himalayan Pink Popcorn
Lesser Evil’s pink-packaged popcorn contains non-GMO (genetically modified organism) corn. This popcorn tastes fantastic and comes without added salt and fat, which are detrimental to heart health.
One packet of popcorn delivers 18% of your recommended daily fiber. With only 170mg of sodium and no trans fats whatsoever, this is the perfect option for a mid-morning snack.
Nuts are a good source of fiber, fat, and protein. Though they’re usually high in fat, it’s a healthy fat.
Try adding a handful of walnuts to your diet. Walnuts are rich in fiber as well as micronutrients like magnesium, copper, and manganese. They can help protect against heart disease by doing the following:
- Reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol
- Decrease oxidative stress and inflammation
- Lower blood pressure
4. Off the Eaten Path Veggie Crisps
Off the Eaten Path crisps contain no artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors. The snack is nutrient-dense and made from rice, peas, and black beans. They contain no saturated fats or trans fats. If your food cravings include crisps, these won’t spoil your heart-healthy diet.
5. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, which support heart health. Studies show that people who eat dark chocolate have healthier cardiovascular systems. Eating dark chocolate in moderation can form part of a healthy lifestyle.
A few squares of dark chocolate can make a great snack on the go. When you buy dark chocolate, look for high-quality chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content.
6. Thunderbird Cashew + Fig + Carrot Real Food Bar
These non-GMO, vegan, and grain-free bars are a convenient store-bought snack. They taste sweet and have only three grams of fat and 150 calories. The bars contain fruit, nuts, spices, and seeds with no added sugar at all.
There are plenty of flavors to try out, including peach pecan vanilla, Texas maple pecan, and hemp sunflower pumpkin seed.
The Benefits of Eating Heart-Healthy Foods
A healthy diet rich in heart-boosting foods can help to protect your heart now and prevent heart problems in the future. By incorporating heart-healthy foods into your day, you reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.
The next time you’re headed to your nine o’clock meeting, why not reach for a handful of walnuts or some veggie crisps? Fuel your body with foods that allow you to thrive and support your most vital organ.