According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death. An estimated 17.9 million people die each year from heart disease or stroke. February is American Heart Month, which means there’s no better time to take a look at what you’re putting into your body and how it affects your heart than right now!

Diet and exercise are the keys to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But let’s be honest… during these cold winter months, getting out of bed at 6AM to make that gym class just usually doesn’t happen. So we think an easier way to improve your heart health is to start making healthy choices about the food you put into your body. Small changes to your diet, such as cutting out simple carbohydrates like white bread and pasta and replacing with whole wheat substitutes, as well as increasing your fiber and protein intake, can make a big impact on lowering  your heart disease risk.

Based off of the recommendations given by the American Heart Association and our own research on some key heart healthy foods, below is a list of items that will keep your heart strong and healthy!

  1. Leafy Greens: Kale, Spinach, Watercress and Broccoli
  2. Nuts: Almonds, Walnuts and Pistachios
  3. Whole Wheat Bread, Pasta and Crackers
  4. Grapes and Berries: Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries
  5. Fish: Salmon and Tuna
  6. Low-Fat or Greek Yogurt
  7. Quinoa
  8. Beans: Chickpeas and Lentils
  9. Oatmeal
  10. Red Wine and Dark Chocolate (our personal favorites!)

Looking for ways to include these foods in your office’s next team breakfast or lunch?! Below are meal ideas from our favorite vendors that offer heart healthy options you can try today!

Blue Dog Kitchen: Pre-packaged 16 oz fresh pressed juices: All Greens Plus Juice, Bulldozer, Replenisher, Full Bloom Juice, Knights in Armor Juice and Spring Awakening

Fresh & Co: Steel cut oatmeal served with agave, brown sugar and fresh, seasonal berries

Little Urban: Blackened Salmon, Vadouvan Spice Lentil Stew, Braised Quinoa, Roasted Broccoli and Watercress & Herb Salad

Two Forks: Build Your Own Grain or Green Bowl with smashed chickpeas, chicken, cucumber/tomato/olive slaw and top with Harissa buffalo sauce

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