1. DO NOT SMOKE: if you have never smoked, don’t start. If you do smoke, quit. You will increase your life by 5 years for every year you are smoke free.
  2. Enjoy a balanced, nutritious diet. Limit fat intake to between 15% and 30% of your total number of daily calories.
  3. Exercise regularly, 20 minutes 3-4 times per week, or a minimum of a brisk walk daily.
  4. Moderate your intake of alcohol. Guidelines by Health Canada suggest limits of two drinks per day…either 12 oz. Beer, or 5 oz. Wine or 1.5 oz. Spirits.
  5. Limit your intake of salt and caffeine. (No more than the equivalent of four regular cups of coffee per day.)
  6. Try to get 8 hours of sleep each night.
  7. Have regular check-ups with your physician. Early detection is the key to a successful solution.
  8. Keep a positive attitude and wear a smile… it takes only 22 muscles to smile, but 37 to frown.
  9. Make time for leisure activities such as reading, hobbies, sports, TV etc.
  10. Invest in CPR and AED education and training, and encourage your family and friends to do the same.

Oftentimes, we all enjoy a meal that is unhealthy but did you know that while it’s quite common to adopt an unhealthy diet about 90% of us are not getting the proper daily amount of vegetables?

For this reason, we want to highlight the importance of a diet that is full of fruits and vegetables and the benefits they contribute to your heart health. Which vegetables and fruits are the most heart-healthy though?

To help, we’ve shared below some of the best fruits and vegetables that you can have for a heart-healthy diet, as well as when they’re in season.

Heart Healthy Fruits and Vegetables

Berries

Berries such as strawberries and blueberries are believed to carry antioxidants that help to decrease blood pressure and dilate blood vessels. This is attributed to the benefit of compounds known as anthocyanins, and flavonoids.

When they’re available: 

  • Strawberries: May, June, July, August, September, and October
  • Blueberries: July, August, and September
  • Cranberries:  September,  October and November
  • Raspberries: July, August, September, and  October

Potatoes

Although potatoes can be more challenging to your heart-healthy dining, if you don’t deep fry them, they can be extremely good for your heart. They’re rich in potassium and high in fiber (if the skin is left on), which again, can help lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.

When they’re available: year-round

Tomatoes

Similar to potatoes, tomatoes are high in heart-healthy potassium. Plus they’re a good source of the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that may help to get rid of “bad ” cholesterol, keep blood vessels open and lower heart attack risk.

When they’re available: 

  • Greenhouse: year-round
  • Field: July, August, September, and October

Broccoli, Spinach and Kale

When it comes to your heart health, you can’t go wrong with vegetables. Green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, or kale can give an extra boost to your heart. These are high in carotenoids, which act as antioxidants and can free your body of potentially harmful compounds. They’re also high in fiber and contain lots of vitamins and minerals.

When they’re available: 

  • Broccoli: June, July, August, September, and October
  • Spinach: May, June, July, August, September, and October
  • Kale: June, July, August, September, and October

Avocado

These soft, tasty fruits will provide your body and heart with plenty of healthy fats. They’re composed of monounsaturated fats, high in antioxidants, and also contain potassium to help lower heart disease factors.

When they’re available: (commercially) generally year-round

Asparagus

One of the most important heart-healthy ingredients that are found in asparagus is vitamin B6. This vitamin can lower homocysteine, a form of amino acid that has been linked to heart disease.

When they’re available: May and June

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers contain folate, another nutrient that can reduce homocysteine.

When they’re available: 

  • Greenhouse: February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December
  • Field: July, August, September, and October

Carrots

Carrots are rich in carotenoids, which are powerful antioxidants that can combat free radicals that cause heart disease.

When they’re available: February, March, April, May,  July, August, September, October, November, and December

Garlic

Garlic contains phytochemicals that boost immunity and protect the heart against diseases.

When they’re available: February, July, August, September, October, November, and December

Onions

Onions are a rich source of sulfur-containing phytochemicals. These phytochemicals can reduce cholesterol levels, and therefore, prevent heart disease.

When they’re available: year-round

If you’re interested in learning about other heart-healthy foods, check out our post on Ten Essential Foods For A Heart-Healthy Diet; And if you’d like to know when other fruits and vegetables are available, check out Foodland Ontario’s page.

Serves 2

Ingredients

QuantityIngredient
4Skinless, boneless chicken thigh fillets
1Small fresh red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
1Clove garlic, crushed
½ tspDried oregano
1 TspSmoked paprika
3 TspOlive oil
1 TbspFreshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly GroundBlack pepper (taste)
1Red pepper, deseeded and cut into small chunks
1Red onion, sliced or cut into thin wedges

Instructions

Score a couple of deep slashes in each chicken thigh using a sharp knife. Combine red chili, garlic (if using), oregano, smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons of the olive oil, the lemon juice and black pepper in a bowl. Add chicken thighs; turn to coat all over. Cover; leave to marinate in a cool place for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350ºF/175ºC. Put red pepper and red onion into a small, non-stick roasting tin; add remaining olive oil and toss to coat. Add chicken thighs to roasting pan, nestling them among vegetables.

Roast in the oven for 30–40 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked (165⁰ F/74⁰ C – internal temperature) and piping hot, stirring vegetables and turning chicken thighs over about halfway through cooking.

Serve immediately with crusty bread or flatbreads and a mixed-leaf salad.

This recipe was found on the British Heart Foundation’s site. We have plenty of heart-healthy recipes, but if you’re looking for more, they’re a great resource. 

Recipes From Our Resident Expert, Marsha Rosen, RD
Here are some heart healthy recipes provided by Marsha Rosen, RD (Registered Dietitian). Marsha is
Mike Salem’s sister and in addition to offering private nutrition counselling, Marsha provides group lectures, seminars and cooking demonstrations.

If you have nutrition question for our dietitian, you can email Marsha here…

Do you have a heart healthy recipe that you would like to share? Send your recipes to info@mikeynetwork.com

Move your body

Ensure you’re always moving! Consider going for a stroll during your lunch break or exercises in your spare time.

Know your numbers

Visiting your doctor and checking your vitals is important for your heart-health. Schedule regular check-ups with your doctor.

Eat chocolate

Eaten in moderation, dark chocolate can actually be good for you. It can help lower the risk of heart disease.

Move your body

Ensure you’re always moving! Consider going for a stroll during your lunch break or exercises in your spare time.

Know your numbers

Visiting your doctor and checking your vitals is important for your heart-health. Schedule regular check-ups with your doctor.

Eat chocolate

Eaten in moderation, dark chocolate can actually be good for you. It can help lower the risk of heart disease.