Chocolate, flowers and Cupid have all certainly laid their stake in the ground in February. Hopefully you haven’t forgotten about the holiday and plan to take good care of your lady (or man).
Quick fact: Heart disease is the #1 killer in America, with killing over 307,000 men each year -- that’s 1 in every 4 male deaths...
... And here’s the scariest part, half of the men who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms.
This isn’t meant to scare you, but rather make you aware.
Here are 3 surprising health tips (and yes, one includes eating chocolate)...
1.Eat Fat. The low fat craze in the early 90‘s had it all wrong. I was overweight as a kid and had to lose weight to play football. In 8th grade I was 155 lbs. and needed to be 135. At that time, low fat was king and my only goal was to eat as low fat as possible, hitting 2 grams of fat one day. I lost weight, but there were certainly better, more efficient and smarter ways to change body composition. Fast forward 20 years and we’ve certainly learned a lot about the importance of the right types of fat.
These are a few of our favorite healthy fats -- olive, canola and fish oil. The last you can’t cook with, but the first two are great options that fit the bill. We wouldn’t suggest blindly adding olive or canola oil to improve your health, but rather replacing less healthy options like soybean oil, shortening or margarine.
As for fish oil, there are a lot of data suggesting that adding fish oil -- AKA omega 3 fat -- can drastically improve health, including the health of your heart.
2. Avocado. Sticking with the “eat fat theme”, avocados top the list of heart healthy foods. You likely got your fill on Super Bowl Sunday, but that doesn’t mean you should quit there. They’re loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats, a good source of fiber and many other vitamins and minerals. Add it to eggs, blend it in your protein shakes, or you can even mix some with dark chocolate to make a fantastic chocolate pudding. Check out this recipe:
1 avocado, ripe and soft
½ cup 100% Raw Cocoa powder
¼ cup full fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup (I prefer Grade B, which is more flavorful)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Scoop out the flesh and put in a blender with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth, occasionally scraping down sides. Taste and add more cocoa powder until the pudding is chocolate-y enough. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
3. Chocolate. While we’re talking chocolate, its drool worthy and rich flavor also boasts some impressive health benefits to stake its mark in American Heart Month. Get some for your girl/guy -- you’ll both win!
We can list dozens of positive studies; here’s a review of many of them, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This reviewed the results of 42 studies to determine overall effects on cardiovascular disease. This review showed with improvements in cholesterol, reductions in blood pressure, improved circulation and improved insulin resistance. The key is picking a quality dark chocolate and you can find them at any grocery store these days. 100% raw cacao mixed into other foods with a little sweetness is the best of the best.
There you have it -- 3 super simple, yet surprising heart health tips!