February is recognized as both National Heart Health Month and National Snack Food Month. It’s a great time to talk about healthy snacking that is an important part of a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Snacking isn’t bad for you. Everyone gets the munchies. What matters is the amount of food you consume when snacking and the types of snacks you choose. Moderation and healthy choices is the key combination. Additionally, consuming certain foods can help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Look for lots of fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains.
Check out these options for heart-healthy snacks.
Healthy nuts (almonds, walnuts). They lower the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels that can contribute to plaque build-up in blood vessels.
Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries). Berries contain antioxidants that help maintain healthy blood vessels, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Seeds (flaxseeds, chia, sunflower, sesame). Sprinkle in yogurts, smoothies or salads, adding heart-healthy fat, fiber and vitamins to your diet.
Colorful vegetables. Red, orange and yellow veggies like red peppers, carrots and sweet potatoes contain carotenoids, fiber and vitamins.
Fruits. Oranges, cantaloupe and papaya are bursting with beta-carotene, potassium and magnesium. Potassium is a great defense against high blood pressure.
Hummus. Dipping vegetables into hummus provides extra benefits, as hummus helps lower cholesterol levels.
Dark chocolate. Chocolate that is at least 70 percent cocoa provides a sweet treat that also treats your heart well.
The next time you feel the urge to snack, check out healthy options that are beneficial to many aspects of your health, including your heart.