4 Ways to Eat for Heart Health

heart health Feb 06, 2022

We've got 4 ways to eat for improved heart health! 

Heart health is very near and dear to my heart (this is Jacque) because I have a strong family history of heart disease. And it's very near to my heart (this is Marzia) because heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the US!

These tips will be helpful if you have high cholesterol, cholesterol that has been gradually increasing, and if you have heart disease or family history of heart disease.

1. Swap out saturated fat for polyunsaturated fat. Saturated fat is found in animal foods (meat and dairy), ultra-processed foods (think packaged foods, fried foods, a lot of fast foods), coconut oil, and palm oil. Research has shown replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat can help lower cholesterol which is cardioprotective.

Of course we are proponents of switching from animal proteins to plant proteins, but not all of our Plant Chics are ready to do that 100%. So we encourage you to cut back on your high fat animal products which will decease your saturated fat intake, and replace them with foods high in polyunsaturated fats (seeds - sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, and flax), walnuts, soybeans (including soy milk and tofu), and fatty fish.

There is a lot of misinformation about coconut oil out there. If you are concerned about heart health, you will want to eliminate or greatly reduce your coconut oil intake.

Same goes for palm oil, which is also linked to the widespread loss of irreplaceable and biodiverse forests and endangered species like orangutans, tigers, elephants, and rhinos.

This is where label reading is super important. Palm oil is added into many packaged foods to enhance texture such as ice cream, margarine, peanut butter, packaged pastries, chips, infant formula, and so many others. Coconut oil is gaining popularity and is found in movie theater popcorn, cake, chocolate, infant formula, and in some keto and vegan packaged foods.

2. Increase soluble fiber. Have you ever noticed that oatmeal has a big heart on it's package that reads "As part of a heat healthy diet, the soluble fiber in oatmeal can help reduce cholesterol"? Next time you're grocery shopping, check it out. And while you're at it, throw some old fashioned oats into your cart for heart health!

Some other foods that are high in soluble fiber include:

  • Beans: black, chickpeas, lima, all of them really....
  • Seeds: flax and sunflower
  • Nuts: hazelnuts
  • Fruits: avocados, apples, pears, figs, nectarines, apricots, guava (for our south Florida and Latina Plant Chics)
  • Veggies: broccoli, brussels sprouts, turnips, carrots, sweet potatoes
  • Whole grains: oatmeal and barley

3. Add amla berry to your supplements. The amla fruit has been shown in clinical trials to lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, and improve HDL cholesterol. I (Jacque) first heard of the benefits of amla berries from our friends at Mastering Diabetes. They shared studies that showed amla may be more powerful than both diabetes and statin medications. 

My cholesterol was increasing, so I added amla berries (I alternated with this tea and this Vitamin C) and my cholesterol dropped 40 points. 

4. Diversify your gut microbiome by consuming 30 different plants per week. Pretty much everything comes back to the health of your gut microbiome and the leading researchers on gut health show eating 30 unique plants per week is the best way to improve gut health. Download our FREE Plant Tracker here.

We want to hear which of these you will be implementing! Make sure to bookmark this blog post so you can easily access it on your next trip to the grocery store!

Hugs and heart health,

Marzia & Jacque 

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