The best weapon for a healthy heart is a nutrient-rich diet. Cardiologists with UnityPoint Health - St. Luke’s Cardiology Services and Cardiovascular Associates understand that it can be hard to nail down healthy eating habits especially with a busy on-the-go lifestyle. That’s why they have shared their favorite healthy snacks to help you jumpstart your healthy eating journey. Whether its adding some flavorful cucumbers to your daily water routine or packing some dried veggies to take with you on the go, it’s small changes like these that our heart experts say are key to preventing stroke and heart disease.
As with anything else in our life, we are given an array of choices for a well-balanced diet and a healthful eating plan. Since healthy eating habits begin at home, establishing a healthier way of life for you and your loved ones is crucial. Begin by getting your family involved in the cooking process, reducing the amount of sodium and sugars in your family's diet, and enjoying fresh produce and vegetables,. All will help you and your family on your way to a healthier lifestyle.
Incorporate a few delicious and healthful hand picked snacks from our very own cardiologists!
Infused Cucumber Water
“Water is your body’s source of life. Being hydrated not only improves your health and naturally flushes toxins out of your body, but water also keeps your skin plump and elastic. Infused water is especially beneficial because it makes the act of drinking water more enjoyable, both for the tastebuds and the eyes. As an added bonus, infused water has the sweet fruit flavors of fruit juice but without the extra calories or sugar. “
Infused Blueberry & Strawberry Water
“Blueberries are among the highest antioxidant value fruits. Altogether, the phyto-chemical compounds in the blueberry help rid off harmful oxygen-derived free radicals from the human body, and thereby, protect it against cancers, aging, degenerative diseases, and infections…Plus they are very low in calories! Strawberries are a sodium-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, low-calorie food.”
“Lypocene, a carotenoid found in abundance in watermelon, improves cardiac functions. Beta carotene, known for its remarkable antioxidant and anti-aging properties, also keeps you young at heart and prevents age related cardiac problems.”
Hummus with Carrot & Celery Sticks
“Hummus is easy to make (ground chickpeas & seasonings), high in fiber, and it is so rich in protein it can help fight hunger cravings and balance blood sugar levels which helps curb excessive snacking.”
Mango Salsa with Tri-Colored Tortilla Chips
The king of the fruits," mango fruit is one of the most popular, nutritionally rich fruits with unique flavor, fragrance, taste, and heath promoting qualities, making it number one among new functional foods, often labeled as “super fruits."
“Loaded with protein, vitamin D, vitamin B3, and zinc, shrimp are an excellent, carbohydrate-free food for anyone determined to shed off pounds.”
Seasoned Dried Green Beans
“Green beans are low in sodium, saturated fat, and a great source of dietary fiber.”
Strawberry Platter with Chocolate Cream Cheese Dip
“The heart-shaped silhouette of the strawberry is the first clue that this fruit is good for you. These potent little packages protect your heart, increase HDL (good) cholesterol, lower your blood pressure, and guard against cancer. Packed with vitamins, fiber, and particularly high levels of antioxidants known as polyphenols, strawberries are a sodium free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, low-calorie food. They are among the top 20 fruits in antioxidant capacity and are a good source of manganese and potassium. Just one serving -- about eight strawberries -- provides more vitamin C than an orange."
Cucumber Tomato Bites
“Cucumbers are a good source of B vitamins and they are 95 percent water, keeping the body hydrated while helping the body eliminate toxins. Cucumbers have most of the vitamins the body needs in a single day. Don't forget to leave the skin on because the skin contains a good amount of vitamin C, about 10 percent of the daily-recommended allowance.”
Fit & Healthy Trail Mix
“Many people shy away from trail mix and nuts because they contain fat—but these fats are one of the best reasons to eat them. Unlike animal fats, or trans-fatty acids, nuts contain polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These are the essential fatty acids (EFAs) you need in your diet to help support a healthy heart.”
Dried Banana Chips
“Consuming banana chips helps to prevent the nausea, fatigue and constipation that can develop due to potassium deficiency.”
Coconut Orange Date Balls
“Dates are an excellent source of Iron. Iron, being a component of hemoglobin inside the red blood cells, determines the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.”
Take Care of Your Heart With Healthy Nutrition!
Maintaining a nutrient-filled diet along with exercise is essential for a healthy heart and life. Kick start you and your families healthy lifestyle with these fun and flavorful dishes in addition to an annual check up with your healthcare provider each year. If you have additional heart health concerns, reach out to UnityPoint Health - St. Luke’s Cardiology Services!