February is not only a month to think about chocolate and romance, but a time to reflect on heart health and healthy eating. That’s because since 1963, February has been declared American Heart Month – dedicated to educating people about the importance of protectingtheir hearts from coronary disease and other heart-related disorders.
Did you know according to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of Americans today? The good news is heart disease can be preventable, especially if you are aware of the warning signs and take steps to protect yourself.
It’s important to understand the risk factors that can increase your likelihood of suffering from heart disease, which include smoking, high-blood cholesterol, high-blood pressure, physical inactivity, diabetes and being overweight. Staying active, and eating foods that are low in fat and high in nutrients, can help you begin to improve your health and lessen your risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke. One food that can help you begin to take care of your heart is the Artichoke for the following reasons:
Sources: American Heart Association
- Potassium – Artichokes are high in potassium – a mineral that helps maintain normal heart rhythm and reduces the effects of salt on blood pressure. One medium Artichoke provides 400 milligrams of potassium, which is equivalent to one small banana.
- Fiber – One medium Artichoke provides 10.3 grams of fiber, a nutrient known to reduce the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol.
- Protein – The USDA recommends increasing plant-based protein over animal-based protein to help reduce saturated fat and cholesterol. One medium Artichoke offers four grams of healthy protein.
- Fat and Cholesterol – Artichokes are fat-free, cholesterol-free and contain no trans fat. They can also help promote healthy arteries.