Heart health is something that everyone should start considering as early as their twenties. Heart disease affects one in four Americans and is the leading cause of death in the U.S., so it’s never too early to start thinking about prevention. A great way to work towards prevention is to focus on what you eat.
We aren’t just talking about any old food here, the focus should mainly be on superfoods. Yes, they are super good for you but, unfortunately, yes, these foods are notorious for putting a dent in our wallets. However, there are always cheaper options if you just know how to look. There are plenty of inexpensive organic superfoods that don’t require a visit to the local organic market and won’t leave your broke.
Citrus fruits are juicy, vibrant, and good for your heart in more ways than one. A recent review found that overweight and obese people who regularly ate grapefruits experienced a significant decrease in their blood pressure. There has been quite a bit of research performed that has shown citrus significantly helping heart health. The secret is that most of the nutrients are found in the peel of, for example, an orange or lemon. If you’ve got a juicer at home, put the entire orange into it and begin to reap the benefits of the antioxidant love, which is only found in the peel. Consumption of this antioxidant may decrease blood pressure. The facts show it!
Beets. Are. Tasty. They might look strange to some but, mmmmm, we can’t get enough of them. Eating antioxidant-rich beets is a great way to fight inflammation. Beets are packed with inflammation-fighting compounds, like anthocyanins, betaine, and lutein. There is even some research that suggests that betaine can lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, the nitrates in beet juice may lower blood pressure. These are easy to stock up on and can be incorporated in salads, smoothies, and more, galore!
Price: $1.98 for 2 pounds
With significant levels of vitamin A, B6, K, C, manganese, calcium, copper, fiber, potassium, and magnesium, kale is one of the most nutrient-dense veggies in the produce section for only about 35 calories per cup. Research has also linked the consumption of kale with a decrease in cholesterol.
This can also be found frozen so the goodness will last longer. Kale can withstand cold temperatures, so it’s abundant in the winter and shouldn’t break your piggy bank when you buy it at the store. Kick the $15 restaurant kale salads to the curb. You got this; you can make your own kale salads.
Price: $2.50 for 1 bunch
4. Frozen Berries
It is always the worst feeling to be strolling through the produce section looking for some yummy berries only to find that a small carton of raspberries is $8. Fortunately, you can actually get berries cheap if you explore other isles of the grocery store, for example, the frozen department. Frozen berries are actually more beneficial then you might think. Because they are frozen, all the nutrient goodness is stored better because they remain fresher for longer. Keep a solid amount of a variety of frozen berries in your freezer and reap the benefits for longer than you would with regular berries. One study found that women who eat more than three servings of blueberries or strawberries a week may have up to 34 percent lower risk of developing heart disease than those who don’t.
Price: $3.79 for a 16-ounce bag
There is a reason why bananas have always been a go-to for a healthy snack. A bushel of bananas is super cheap and deliver big on one heart-healthy nutrient—potassium. Not eating enough potassium can raise your blood pressure, however, if you increase your intake of potassium by 1.6 grams per day, you can reduce your risk of stroke by 21 percent. One large banana has almost 500 milligrams of potassium.
Price: $1.58 per bunch
Oats are a super-versatile grain, that mixes well into everything from your standard oatmeal and overnight oats to veggie burgers and meatloaf. Plus, they pack 4 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein in just a half cup. Oats contain a fiber called beta-glucan, which may lower cholesterol. Research suggests that eating 3 grams of beta-glucan fiber per day can reduce “bad cholesterol” (LDL) by five to 10 percent in healthy people.
Price: $2.99 for an 18-ounce container
Pulses are your arsenal of chickpeas, beans, legumes and dried peas. They are the secret superfood that you’re probably already eating (found in things like hummus. yum.). These plant-based MVPs are packed with protein, fiber, and other heart-healthy nutrients, like folate, iron, and potassium.
They are not only totally affordable, they are so great for your body in so many ways. As for your heart health, research has shown that eating pulses can lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and help with body-weight management.
Price: $0.79 for 16-ounce can of garbanzo beans