The 6 Top Heart-Healthy Cooking Tips and Recipes We Learned From Cardiologists This Year

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It should come as no surprise that cardiologists emphasize the importance of heart-healthy cooking time and time again. After all, according to the American Heart Association (AHA), heart disease remains the number one cause of death in the United States. The good news? Research has demonstrated that consuming a heart-healthy diet can reduce markers of cardiac injury and inflammation—meaning that you can certainly eat your way to a healthier cardiovascular system.

In 2022, cardiologists shared tons of valuable heart-related information with us. And as we get ready to welcome 2023, we’re gathering some of the best heart-healthy cooking tips and recipes we want to carry well into the new year. This includes recommendations for which cardiovascular-supporting foods should be on your grocery list, the best heart-boosting drinks to sip on first thing in the day, and the top breakfast nutrients for a well-rounded meal that can help lower cholesterol. Seriously, they’re so good, they might make your heart skip a beat.

6 best heart-healthy cooking tips and recipes this year

1. Compile a heart-healthy grocery list before you go shopping

Have you ever walked into a grocery store and instantly been overwhelmed by the selection of 20 different types of canned tuna? Same. If this also means that you totally blank out on what you’re adding to your shopping cart and forget to buy the one thing you came in for, then making a detailed grocery list before you go can certainly help resolve the issue. Thankfully, this year the AHA released a handy grocery list that contains hundreds of foods that meet their Heart-Check Certification Program requirements. This includes items filled with healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants like Hass avocados, Quaker oatmeal, and blueberries.

2. Include these two important heart-healthy nutrients during breakfast

By now, you likely know the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast and the importance of not skipping this important meal of the day. However, this year we also learned from cardiologists that ensuring your breakfast spread contains fiber and protein—two key heart-healthy nutrients—is highly recommended. That’s because fiber can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, which are both associated with managing heart disease. Meanwhile, protein can help increase your muscle, brain, and cardiovascular health. Basically, a breakfast packed with ingredients like eggs, fish, spinach, and broccoli can do wonders for your heart.

3. Approach heart-healthy cooking holistically

When it comes to heart health, most cardiologists will agree it’s important to approach it holistically—meaning diet, exercise, sleep, and stress levels can all play an important role. Cardiologist Mona Shah, MD, an expert in holistic, integrative medicine, previously shared with Well+Good a few holistic heart-healthy activities to boost your cardiovascular system, including walking daily and practicing mindfulness in the morning. Aside from these, she also recommended choosing meals that minimize simple carbs, processed foods, and sugars, which can (in some cases) lead to inflammation, which can negatively impact the heart.

4. Drink heart-healthy cardiologist-recommended drinks in the morning

If you basically can’t function until you’ve had at least the first sip of caffeine first thing in the day, you’ll be pleased to hear that coffee makes it on the cut of cardiologist-recommended drinks to have first thing in the morning. Heart specialists say that one to two cups of java has been linked to reduced risk of heart failure and is considered safe for most adults. In addition to coffee, MDs recommend drinking other hydrating beverages like heart-healthy smoothies, green tea, and plain ol’ water.

5. Make these delicious heart-healthy smoothie recipes to fuel your day

A quick smoothie to slurp on as you drive to work can be one of the easiest ways to ensure you don’t skip out on one of the most important meals of the day. This year, we discovered several heart-friendly smoothie recipes packed with cardiovascular benefits. Some of our all-time favorites include a four-ingredient banana turmeric smoothie that boasts longevity-boosting properties and a berry smoothie with spinach that provides plenty of antioxidants and gut-friendly fiber. These delicious drinks also help combat inflammation and support your immune system.

6. Try our favorite two-ingredient, heart-healthy breakfast recipe to start the day

Two ingredients are all you need to make this delicious heart-healthy avocado hash brown recipe that’s basically avocado toast 2.0 (it went fully viral this year—easy to see why). Although we can’t stand behind every trend we’ve come across on TikTok, this one is certainly one we’ve made, tested, and fully approved. And for additional heart-healthy protein benefits, topping your creamy and crunchy avocado hash brown with a runny sunny-side-up will definitely fill your heart with unparalleled joy.

How to eat for optimal energy, according to an RD:

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