Almonds are a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, says dietitian, Kristian Morey. “They are also high in fibre, which helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol.” High cholesterol and high blood pressure are major risks for heart disease. Almonds are also magnesium-rich, and magnesium helps protect the heart, according to a review article published in Nutrients. Grab a handful when you need a pick-me-up after a hard work-out.
Asparagus boasts high amounts of vitamin K, which may play a role in regulating calcium in the body to promote bone and cardiovascular health, Morey says. “Sauté it with sugar snap peas and toss with whole wheat pasta, olive oil, lemon juice, and a bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and pepper for a meatless meal fit for a (very healthy) king or queen.
These versatile legumes contain more protein than any other plant food – just one cup provides a quarter of what we need each day, Morey says. They also provide heart-healthy and stress-busting B vitamins, iron, and all-important calcium. Plus, they are considered ‘nature’s scrub brush’ because one serving’s 15 grams of fibre goes through the intestines and soaks up cholesterol and takes it away. Use beans in soups and stews or create a vegetarian chili with kidney beans, tomatoes, carrots, celery, and a little bit of hot pepper. Purée a rinsed and drained can of white beans with two tablespoons of olive oil, a small clove of garlic, and salt and pepper for a Mediterranean-style veggie dip.