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18 Heart-Healthy Snacks and Drinks

Updated: Aug 4, 2020

Your heart is part of your body’s cardiovascular system, which also includes your veins, arteries, and capillaries.

It’s constantly working to provide your tissues and organs with oxygen and nutrient-rich blood. In fact, the average adult heart beats 60 to 80 times a minute at rest, keeping every cell in your body constantly nourished.

Your heart keeps you alive and well, and protecting its health should be a top priority. Fortunately, following a diet high in heart-healthy nutrients can drastically reduce heart disease risk and promote optimal cardiovascular functioning.

Here are 18 heart-healthy snacks and drinks.

1. Matcha tea

Matcha is a type of green tea that contains high levels of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a polyphenol compound in green tea that has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming EGCG-rich matcha tea may help improve heart health. Studies show that EGCG helps prevent atherosclerosis, the buildup of fatty substances on artery walls, and may help reduce inflammation and cellular damage. This is why green tea intake has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke in many studies

2. Sardines Packed In Olive Oil

Snacking on sardines packed in olive oil gives your heart a mega dose of healthy fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Sardines are small, fatty fish that happen to be one of the richest sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats you can eat. The heart health benefits of omega-3 fats are well documented, and studies show that omega-3-rich dietary patterns may reduce your risk of heart disease and its risk factors, such as high triglyceride levels.

Olive oil intake is also strongly linked to improved heart health. A study that included 7,216 adults at high risk of heart disease demonstrated that for every 10-gram increase of extra virgin olive oil per day, the risk of heart disease decreased by 10%. For reference, 1 tablespoon of olive oil equals 14 grams

3. Walnut and Tart Cherry Trail Mix

Nuts and seeds are known to be heart healthy. Walnuts in particular have been shown to improve blood vessel function and reduce heart disease risk factors like inflammation, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol levels. Tart cherries are packed with polyphenol antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation, prevent cellular damage, and protect your heart. Try mixing walnuts and tart cherries for a nutritious, portable snack.

4. Rainbow Chard Hummus Wraps

Swiss chard hummus wraps deliver important nutrients that your body needs to stay in top condition. Leafy green veggies like Swiss chard are packed with folate, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin K, all of which are needed for healthy blood pressure and blood flow. Swiss chard is also high in dietary nitrates, which help decrease blood pressure and reduce the workload on your heart.

5. Coffee Smoothie

Coffee can not only give you a much-needed morning pick-me-up but also has been associated with some impressive heart health benefits. Numerous studies have associated regular coffee intake with a significantly reduced risk of heart disease. In fact, one large review of 218 studies found that people who drank 3 cups of coffee per day had a 19% reduced risk of death from heart disease, compared with non-drinkers. Instead of choosing a sugar-laden coffee beverage, elevate your morning coffee experience by creating a smoothie that combines coffee with other heart-healthy ingredients like banana, almond butter, and cacao powder.

6. Chocolate-Chia Peanut Butter Bites

These chewy, chocolatey, peanut butter bites are made with whole, nutrient-dense ingredients that can help protect your heart. Unlike sugary chocolate treats like candy or energy bars that may harm your heart health when consumed in excess, these bites are packed with protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Plus, they’re naturally sweetened with dates. Oats, walnuts, and chia seeds are the stars of this recipe and have all been shown to lower heart disease risk factors like high LDL (bad) cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

7. Papaya Boats

The vibrant orange flesh of papayas is packed with a compound called lycopene, a carotenoid plant pigment that has many beneficial qualities. Lycopene has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and may help prevent atherosclerosis and improve blood flow, making it an important nutrient for heart health. Studies show that consuming a lycopene-rich diet may significantly reduce your risk of heart disease and protect against heart-disease-related death.