February is American Heart Month and we're helping you with your heart love all month long. So here are five heart healthy snacks from Chef Jess, registered dietitian and owner of Chef Jess' Personal Chef Delivery and Meal Catering.
1. Dark Chocolate
Chef Jess says don't worry, chocolate is still on the menu. The biggest key is to check the ingredients to make sure you're buying chocolate with 70 percent or higher of cacao (cocoa). Dark chocolate also has nitric oxide, a compound that causes blood vessels to dilate and blood to flow more easily, which is great for heart health!
2. Crudités with Hummus
First, to brush you up on your French, crudités are a variety of cut up fresh vegetables and Chef Jess says pair them with some tasty hummus. This snack packs a bunch because it's low calorie, low sugar, high in fiber and high in antioxidants.
3. Apples and Almond butter
Apples are a great snack because they are high in fiber and high in pectin, which helps block cholesterol absorption. Plus Chef Jess says almond putter is high in monounsaturated fat, the type of fat linked to a reduction in heart disease and better blood sugar control.
Chef Jess says all grapes are good, but the darker the skin, the more nutritious. The key heart ingredient is resveratrol, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight cardiac issues.
Popcorn can be a great snack, says Chef Jess, especially if you season it yourself. But beware, movie theater popcorn can have up to 2000 milligrams of sodium which is supposed to be your daily intake.