Your health should be the most important priority to your lifestyle. Early heart prevention has been taken lightly nowadays due to our society being so “brainwashed” into thinking the usual, “Oh I’m young and don’t have anything to worry about it NOW” mentality. However, more and more cases of high blood pressure and heart disease diagnosis are rising every year, with many being diagnosed as early as their mid-20s (yikes). This can be due to a number of things: genetics, poor awareness in our food intake, cultural background, the environment we live in (i.e. fast paced society and the convenience of fast food), and other elements to this terrible epidemic.
But do not fear, for I am here to save you and your heart from breaking (no literally, poor food choices can lead to heart failure and other illnesses such as diabetes and cancer). I will hip you to 5 super foods that are known to help keep your heart healthy and strong so that you can have a satisfying romance for your evening (and your life.)
1. Dark Chocolate
Everyone loves chocolate right? If you don’t, then shame on you! (no really, what messed up your childhood?) Unless you are allergic to it, this is a sweet and tasty addition to your diet. Loaded with polyphenols, which are linked to nitric acids, cocoa products have been proven to help lower blood pressure levels by opening up blood vessels to increase blood flow to the heart. However, eat sparingly (maybe 1 to 1.5 ounces per day) and not the whole chocolate bar (I know, this can be tempting).
2. Fatty Fish (i.e. Salmon)
This omega-3 charged food is delicious grilled, broiled or baked with a nice side of greens for a yummy and nutritious meal. Omega-3s have been known to be heart friendly to the body to create a blood pressure lowering effect for your health. (You’re welcome)
3. Whole Grains
Yes it is true. Whole grains have been proven to provide heart healthy results. Incorporating 3 servings a day into your diet is recommended. However, SLOWLY is best as this is also a fiber rich food and can create constipation and bloating if introduced to the digestive system to soon or too much. Having the case of “stiff bowels” and gas is not a romantic way to celebrate an evening of wining and dining.
4. Olive Oil (or “liquid gold” as I like to call it)
Now I am biased to this stuff. I LOVE it and cook it with everything! Containing monounsaturated fats, this oil has been proven to help lower high blood pressure and is a way healthier alternative to cooking oils such as canola and “pure vegetable” oil (no judging if you are still cooking with these garbage type oils). This can be used to saute, marinate and makes a great base for salad dressing.
Now, wait, before you go, “ewww” (if you haven’t done so already), these are awesome for your heart health. The nitrates they contain have been proven to effectively lower blood pressure as well as provide prevention for those who are lucky enough to not have any heart health issues. My best advice to you for these not so tasty treats (I HATE them too), is to combine them in your smoothies. Juicing them is best, especially with apples, bananas and a little bit of lemon. Trust me, it tastes better than it sounds.
Hopefully your state of mind on heart health has been put into check. Our society has been raised off of generations of heavy home cooked foods and the convenience of fast food for our fast paced lifestyle. However, if you don’t get why it is beneficial for one to get their health in check NOW instead of waiting until you hit the age of 30 or so and having your body being dependent on over 5 different medications for your health, then I did not do my job (or you are just are in denial and don’t care).
What isn’t sexier than having yourself and your “boo thang”/partner feeling healthier, stronger and with lots of stamina for some “adult time activities” (such as walking while holding hands or dancing. Get your mind out the gutter. Or stay in it, we’re all grown. Judge free zone!).
Mystique Hargrove is a mom currently studying nutrition at Georgia State University. She loves dance and yoga. Her mission is to intentionally spread love and light every single day.