Since February is Heart Health Month, we’re sharing eight heart-y foods to maximize your heart health. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important way to keep your heart in good shape. In fact, 80 per cent of premature heart conditions such as heart disease and stroke can be prevented by eating a healthy diet and being physically active.

Here is a list of eight heart-healthy foods to support your heart’s health this month:

Leafy Green Vegetables

Leafy green vegetables are a great source for vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. In particular, vitamin K is readily available in leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, kale and collard greens. Vitamin K can help to reduce blood pressure and improve arterial function.

Avocados

Avocados are an excellent source of monosaturated fats, which can have a beneficial effect on your heart health when consumed in moderation.

Oranges

Oranges are particularly rich in vitamin C, which works as an antioxidant in the body. Vitamin C helps to slow down or prevent atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaque in arteries, by reducing plaque from cholesterol and other substances in the arteries.

Garlic

Garlic has numerous proven health benefits and has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for ailments. A meta-analysis have analyzed 39 clinical trials and concluded that garlic can help reduces total serum cholesterol.

Fatty Fish and Fish Oil

Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Research has shown omega-3 fatty acids decrease risk of arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats), which can lead to sudden death. Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease triglyceride levels, slow growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque and slightly lower blood pressure.

Healthy Nuts

Healthy nuts like almonds, peanuts or walnuts are not only a great snack, but are loaded with vitamins. Some nuts contain vitamin E, which helps lower blood pressure, and some nuts like walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a versatile fruit – yes, tomatoes are a fruit! – with an amazing source of lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that may help get rid of “bad” cholesterol and lower heart attack risk.

Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants like flavonoids and eating dark chocolate can lower risk of heart disease. You just have to make sure it is at least 70 per cent cocoa!