7 heart healthy foods & how to incorporate them into your family’s diet

black beans, heart healthy, cooking, green kids

1. Black Beans

Black beans aren’t just for soup and Mexican food anymore. Although they are delicious in stews and savory dips, you and your family can take advantage of the calcium, B-vitamins, and fiber that black beans offer in new and interesting ways: try this beloved brownie recipe that utilizes black beans or make a sweet dip for fruit.

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Image © flickr user HealthAliciousNess

2. Walnuts and Almonds

Walnuts and almonds, along with being among the most well-known nuts in this country, are chock full of the “right” kind of fats (monounsaturated) as well as phytoesterols (a plant-based nutritional component that may lower heart disease risk). Both are also extremely versatile, with lots of ways to be incorporated into weekly meal planning. In addition to being tasty when eaten outright, you can soak and dehydrate them to make raw vegan cheeses, blend them into dips and pesto, sprinkle them over salads, or bake them into muffins or cookies.

green family, kids health, green family, cooking

Image © flickr user HealthAliciousNess

3. Flaxseed

Flaxseed, although a popular health-world buzzword in the past few years, often gets overlooked as a heart-healthy ingredient because people simply don’t know what to do with it! Amazingly, ground flaxseed is a good fit for many recipes: sprinkled on salads, added to smoothies and cookies, even used as an egg alternative. It’s high in fiber and also contains those Omega 3 fatty acids that have been linked with improved heart health. Be sure to used ground flaxseed — it’s best to buy the flax seeds whole and then grind them a few tablespoons at a time or as needed for a recipe. This keeps them fresher, and research has shown ground flaxseeds are more easily absorbed and digested by the body.

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