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Show Your Heart Some Love: Heart Healthy Snack Ideas

Lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise can make a real difference in preventing heart disease and improving your heart health. Choosing healthy snacks is just one way you can help avoid heart disease. There are a number of heart-healthy snack options that are both tasty and easy to make.

Snacking does not have to be unhealthy. Show some love to your heart and try some of these nutrient-rich snacks:

1. Apples and peanut butter

Apples are full of heart-healthy nutrients, such as fiber and antioxidants. All apples are good for your heart, but red apples have stronger antioxidants. Spread some peanut butter on your apple slices to add protein and a little salty to the sweet for a yummy snack.

2. Veggies and hummus

Veggies are a great source of vitamins and fiber, which can improve your heart health. For a colorful and tasty snack, serve red bell peppers, carrots, broccoli and cherry tomatoes with hummus. Hummus is made out of chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) which are packed full of heart-protective antioxidants, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids; all of which help prevent heart disease.

3. Low-fat yogurt with fresh fruit

Low-fat yogurt is a great source of protein and a great addition to a heart-healthy diet, according to the Mayo Clinic. Mix in your favorite fruits, such as blueberries and strawberries, and you have a sweet and delicious snack. Fruits are also rich in fiber and contain substances found in plants that have been show to improve heart health.

4. Bagel & low-fat cream cheese

A bagel is a heart healthy option for both breakfast and for a mid-afternoon snack. Instead of smearing it with regular cream cheese, try using low-fat cream cheese, cottage cheese, fruit or even peanut butter.

5. Dark Chocolate

You can still get your chocolate fix and help fend off heart disease by snacking on dark chocolate. According to the Mayo Clinic, dark chocolate is rich in flavanols which fix cell damage that leads to heart disease, help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow between the heart and the brain. Still, you should only eat dark chocolate in moderation (3 ounces per day), and stick to dark chocolate with cocoa content of 65% or higher.

As you sample these snacks, remember that healthy foods don't have to be tasteless. These nutrient-rich snacks are sure to fill you up, please your taste buds, and improve your heart health.

Like with anything, be sure to eat these snacks in moderation. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your heart health.

Sources: American Heart Association, Mayo Clinic, WebMD

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