One sure way to stay healthy and help prevent heart disease is through diet and exercise. By making healthy substitutions in your cooking and baking. By choosing whole foods over processed, packaged foods, you can drastically cut your risks.

Wondering where to begin?

Start by cleaning out your fridge and pantry and restocking with the heart-healthy foods listed below. Oh and here’s a very important trick when you do hit the store:  stick to the outside edges of the store – most processed, packaged foods are down the aisles.

  •  Salmon: Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Bake or grill and serve with steamed veggies or on top of a salad.
  • Flaxseed (ground): Full of heart healthy fiber. Add ground flaxseeds to your morning oatmeal, into smoothies, and your baking.
  •  Oatmeal: SUPER FOOD full of magnesium,  potassium, folate, niacin,  calcium, and soluble fiber. Start your morning off right with a big bowl of hot oatmeal topped with mixed berries.
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  • Chickpea, Black Bean and White or Red Kidney Beans: Excellent sources of soluble fiber. Great way to add non meat protein to your meals or mash into a yummy hummus!
  •  Almonds / Walnuts: Heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats – be sure to choose the raw, no salt variety. Eat by the handful for a quick snack or mix into yogurt with some berries for a special treat.
  • Blueberries: Full of heart healthy antioxidants. Add to your morning oatmeal, blend into a smoothie, or sprinkle on your salad.
  • Spinach: Not only for Popeye!! Add to just about anything – my favorite is blended into smoothies!!
  • Sweet Potato: Jam packed with vitamin A,C, and E and full of fiber. Steam, boil, bake or roast.

 7 Tips to Keep the Heart Happy Beyond the Grocery Store:

  1. Watch portion sizes. Don’t just eye ball serving sizes, use a measuring spoon or cup – you may be surprised at what you thought was a Tbs of peanut butter!
  2. Wash and pre cut fruits and veggies for quick snacks on the go!
  3. Eat 5-6 small meals a day to keep your insulin levels balanced and metabolism revving!!
  4. Drink at least 2-3 liters of water a day.
  5. Try to get in 30 mins of cardiovascular exercise daily.
  6. Reduce the stress in your life!
  7. Get enough sleep!

We only have one HEART – so do everything you can to take care of it and live a long HEALTHY LIFE!!

Take those tips and “ingredients” and use this recipe from happinesspages.com:

Recipe for a HAPPY ~ HEALTHY ~ HEART!

2 Heaped cups of patience
1 Heart full of love
2 Hands full of generosity
A Dash of laughter
1 Head full of understanding

1. Sprinkle generously with kindness.
2. Add plenty of faith and mix well.
3. Spread over a period of a lifetime.
4. And serve everyone you meet.

Featured image credit: http://phillipspharmacyblog.com/uncategorized/eating-a-heart-healthy-diet/

Inside Image Credit: http://northdelawhere.happeningmag.com/celebrate-wear-red-day-north-delaware