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Healthy Eating

8 best snacks to eat for a healthy heart that you need know

These snacks can promote heart health and keep you satisfied between meals. Here are the eight best snacks you should be eating.

When it comes to heart health, there are a few nutrients known to provide benefit to your cardiovascular system. Omega-3 fats, fiber, antioxidants, and flavonoids are just a few of these nutrients and compounds, and luckily there are a variety of ways to include them in your heart-healthy snacks.

The heart itself isn’t the only thing you need to focus on when caring for your overall cardiovascular health. In order to support your heart health, you must also take care of your blood vessels as they are responsible for delivering oxygen and nutrient-rich blood from the heart to all of your essential organs.

To keep your heart and vessels in prime condition, here are the eight best snacks you should be eating.

1. Apple with nuts or nut butter

It’s no secret that nuts are good for your heart. In fact, one analysis of 25 studies found that regular nut consumption may reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 30 percent.

Apples contain phytonutrients and pectin, both of which are associated with improvements in cardiovascular risk factors.

Combining an apple with nut butter creates a powerful snack for your heart, plus the mix of fiber and healthy fats helps keep you full.

2. Tuna and Crackers

Canned or packaged tuna may be one of our most convenient protein sources on the market. Not only is this food easy for on-the-go snacking and packed with lean protein, but it also contains omega-3 fats. Mix with mashed avocado for a boost of unsaturated fats or even avocado-based mayo for a healthier take on tuna salad. Canned salmon and sardines are also a source of protein-rich omega-3 fats that you can add to crackers for an easy snack.

The crackers you serve as part of this snack can also aid in heart health. Fiber is found in many foods, like fruits, veggies, beans, and whole grain. When choosing heart-healthy crackers, look for options that are whole grain and bonus if they contain omega-3 rich seeds, like chia or flax. One analysis found the individuals who consumed the highest amount of fiber can reduce their incidence of and mortality from cardiovascular disease. This is likely due to the cholesterol-lowering effects of dietary fiber.

3. Roasted chickpeas

Eating beans, like chickpeas, is linked to reduced risk of heart disease. Much of the benefit comes from the fiber as well as the plant sterols, including sitosterol, which help reduce cholesterol and contribute to better heart health.

Roasted chickpeas are the perfect snack to satisfy a crunch craving, and they can be made savory or sweet. For a flavor burst, toss them with a little olive oil, garlic, and smoked paprika. This recipe for Spiced Chickpea “Nuts” is a great place to start. If making your own at home feels like too much, buy a bag of roasted chickpeas. Just watch out for flavors that contain a lot of salt or added sugar. Aim for less than 200mg of sodium or less than 4g of added sugar per serving, if possible.

4. Energy balls

Many homemade energy balls pack a lot of heart-healthy ingredients into one small bite. Choose ones with oats and nuts, seeds, or nut butter for both cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber found in oats and unsaturated fats found in nuts and seeds. For an even bigger punch, add chia, flax, or hemp seed for some omega-3 fatty acids, which may help reduce inflammation, a risk factor for heart disease.

5. Avocado Toast

8 best snacks to eat for a healthy heart that you need know

A popular snack, and even meal, is avocado toast. With numerous ways to customize to your own taste preferences, this snack can be packed with nutrients that boost heart health. Avocados contain unsaturated fat, and in one study were found to be associated with a reduction in LDL cholesterol levels (the bad form), which may further reduce heart disease risk. Avocados also contain potassium which is an electrolyte that is also beneficial to heart health and can even help lower blood pressure.

Whole grain toast would be the best accompaniment to your avocado because of its heart-healthy benefits. To further boost the nutrient profile of your avocado toast, add a few slices of tomato on top. Tomatoes are packed with lycopene which has antioxidant properties, and research indicates increasing blood levels of lycopene can have a positive impact on blood lipids and blood pressure. Other foods that are high in lycopene include red bell pepper, grapefruit, watermelon, and papaya.

6. Roasted carrots with dip

Roasting carrots not only brings out more flavor, but the olive oil used to roast them adds heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Roast a bunch at the beginning of the week for an easy grab-and-go snack. Pair with an avocado or tahini-based dip for even more heart healthy fats packed into your snack. And if you prefer the crunch of raw carrots, that’s a great option too.

7. Roasted pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of magnesium, which may lower blood pressure and reduce your risk for heart disease. They also contain fiber, unsaturated fat, and plant-based protein, all of which contribute to heart health and make for a satisfying snack. Similar to nuts and dried chickpeas, store-bought versions are a good convenient option.

8. Greek yogurt with berries

8 best snacks to eat for a healthy heart that you need know

There’s a great debate around whether or not dairy is good for you and your heart. Hover, a recent study says that eating yogurt may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

In general, it’s recommended that you stick to low-fat dairy products to limit saturated fat and it’s best to choose plain yogurt to limit added sugar.

Greek yogurt contains more protein than regular yogurt, which can make your snack more satisfying. Pair the yogurt with berries, such as blueberries, which have been linked to improved heart health.

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