These Are The Best Snacks To Boost Heart Health This Fall, Experts Say

pumpkin muffins topped with pepita seeds

pumpkin muffins topped with pepita seeds

It’s no secret that your diet plays a major role in your cardiovascular health. For starters, limiting your intake of foods like red meat, fatty fried foods and high sugar snacks is a must if you want to keep your heart in top condition. But luckily, there are plenty of delicious heart-healthy alternatives and good for your overall health. You don’t have to give up snacks forever!

To discover some of the best snacks you can eat every day to improve your cardiovascular health, we spoke with Joanna Wen, certified health coach and founder of Spices & Greens. She gave us her four choices: apple, pumpkin seed, walnut and dark chocolate (our favorite). Delicious!

1. Apple

One of the best nutrients to keep in mind when it comes to heart health is fiber, and luckily, Wen says snacking on a fresh apple is a great way to get more of it in your diet. “Apples are a great source of fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease,” he explains. But the heart health benefits don’t stop there; Wen points out that this crunchy fruit is also packed with antioxidants, which can protect your body from cell damage and reduce the risk of certain diseases, including cardiovascular disease. We can’t confirm or deny that an apple a day will keep the doctor away, but it sure can help your health!

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2. Walnuts

Nuts are another great option when it comes to heart-healthy snacks that are delicious and nutritious. Wen tells us that walnuts, in particular, pack large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, “which have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.” And just like apples, this crunchy treat “is also a good source of antioxidants and plant-based protein.” You can eat them by the handful or add them to various recipes. Try topping your oatmeal with walnuts or baking it into banana bread for an added bonus that can do wonders for your heart.

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3. Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkins are healthy for so many reasons thanks to all the amazing nutrients they offer—and it turns out, the seeds are good for you too, especially when it comes to heart health! “Pumpkin is a good source of magnesium, which helps relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure,” explains Wen. In addition to magnesium, these seeds also offer high amounts of iron and zinc, which he says are “important for maintaining a healthy heart.” You can buy pumpkin seeds at the store or, even better, use the whole fruit by cooking the pumpkin and roasting the seeds with a little salt. Yum!

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4. Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is more than just a sweet treat; Luckily, it also has its fair share of health benefits, especially when it comes to your heart! “Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, which have been shown to lower blood pressure and increase blood flow,” explains Wen. Of course, you shouldn’t overdo it on chocolate, but a little dark chocolate every now and then can help improve your heart health and make your heart happy. However, Wen says you should “choose dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa for the most health benefits.” got it!

Ultimately, the best way to help your heart thrive is to maintain a healthy diet, exercise daily, and see your doctor regularly to address any issues that may arise. But of course, there’s nothing wrong with upping your snack game, and adding this option to the mix is ​​a great idea.

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