Six heart healthy seeds to add to your diet
The American Heart Association recommends eating a variety of plant-based protein to decrease your intake of saturated fats each week. Consuming seeds from fruits, vegetables and flowers can reduce your risk of developing heart disease, certain cancers and diabetes. Lisa Money, RDN, recommends adding seeds to your grocery list for a heart healthy diet.
“Since 52% of Americans do not get the daily requirement of vitamin E and magnesium, many seeds are a good source of both,” said Money. She suggested trying some of these seeds for improved heart health:
- Chia seeds. These are rich in omega-3 fatty acid and contain soluble fiber which can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol. Sprinkle on yogurt, salads, or add to granola.
- Flaxseeds. A good source of omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseeds are also high in potassium, calcium and fiber. They are known to help reduce inflammation and may reduce the risk of hormone-dependent cancers. Use ground flaxseed in cereal, oatmeal and smoothies.
- Sunflower seeds. High in protein, magnesium and copper, sunflower seeds have been shown to improve heart health and blood sugar levels. One-quarter cup can be a great grab-and-go snack.
- Sesame seeds. These contain protein, antioxidants, and fiber and have been shown to improve blood pressure and heart health. Add ground sesame seeds, found in tahini spread, to your hummus and sandwiches for improved blood pressure.
- Pumpkin seeds. Lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol with this excellent source of phosphorous, manganese and phytosterols. Try adding ground up pumpkin seeds to muffin mixes and sauces.
- Hemp seeds. These contain protein, unsaturated fatty acids and fiber, and are currently being studied for their effect on heart health. They are soft and nutty, generally consumed raw. Sprinkle on salads or add to energy bites.
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