Your heart is one of your most precious, hardworking muscles. It literally never takes a break. That’s why maintaining cardiovascular health is one important aspect of caring for your body. Your cardiovascular system works all day, every day to send oxygen-rich blood to your organs, supporting everything you do. Walking, running, dancing, breathing — everything. So, next time you tear it up on the dance floor, you can thank your heart.
One of the best ways you can support your heart is by nourishing it with meals that are Lean, Clean, ’N Green. Today we’re sharing a few of our favorite heart-healthy foods and how you can enjoy them in seriously tasty, Tone It Up-approved recipes. They’re easy to make and have a variety of body-loving ingredients, so you can help your heart with every meal of the day.
1. Olive Oil
There are two types of cholesterol: the good (HDL) and the bad (LDL). HDL works in your body to pick up extra LDL, which can build in your blood vessel walls and restrict your heart from functioning at its best. Olive oil is full of healthy fats that increase the function of HDL in your body. To reap all the heart-healthy benefits of olive oil, add one tablespoon to your salad dressings or try it in this recipe.
2. Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are a crunchy source of fiber, plant protein and healthy fat, making them amazing for a healthy heart. Studies have found that hemp seeds decrease levels of C-reactive protein (the inflammatory compound linked to heart disease) and lower blood pressure — so eating them is an excellent way to keep your cardiovascular health on point. Add one or two tablespoons of hemp seeds to smoothies, or sprinkle them on salads for a nutty, nutritious crunch. Learn more about their benefits in here.
3. Green Tea
Sipping on green tea could be your key to de-stressing and boosting heart health. Green tea is loaded with L-theanine, an amino acid known to raise serotonin levels (aka the relaxation hormone that gives you those good vibes) — making the herbal drink an excellent way to soothe your nervous system and regulate your health. Enjoy a cup at any time of day, or try this smoothie bowl.
Blueberries are one of the best sources of healthy antioxidants. They’re rich in a chemical compound called anthocyanin, which helps lower your blood pressure and allows for more efficient circulation. This study found that blueberries are also excellent for decreasing cellular inflammation, which seriously ups your heart health. We love blueberries in smoothies, atop yogurt or in these tasty muffins!
For more info on the science behind your meals, check out the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan, where we give you details on what to eat, when to eat and how food affects the functions of your beautiful body.