By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

The pumps in our fire trucks are very similar to your heart. If they become clogged or filled with debris, they will not pump properly. Both will have an impediment flow resulting in dangerous conditions to your health & safety. Since February is “Healthy Heart” month, WebMD shares these 21 “Heart Smart” healthy foods to keep your important pump clean and clear of debris.

Herbs – When you add these to foods instead of salt and fat, you are making a heart-healthy choice. They add flavor without the bad stuff.

Black Beans – These are packed with heart-healthy nutrients. Folate, antioxidants, and magnesium can help lower blood pressure.


Red Wine and Resveratrol – If you drink alcohol, a little red wine may be a heart-healthy choice. Resveratrol and catechins, two antioxidants in red wine, may protect artery walls.

The Super Food Salmon – A top food for heart health, it’s rich in omega-3s. Omega-3s are healthy fats that may lessen the risk of heart rhythm disorders and lower blood pressure.

Tuna for Omega 3s – Often cheaper than salmon, tuna also has omega-3s. Albacore (white tuna) has more omega-3s than other tuna varieties.

Olive Oil – This oil is a healthy fat made from smashed olives. It’s rich in heart-healthy antioxidants. They may protect your blood vessels.

Walnuts – A small handful of walnuts a day may lower your cholesterol. It may also protect against inflammation in your heart’s arteries.

Almonds – Slivered almonds go well with vegetables, fish, chicken, and desserts. They have plant sterols, fiber, and heart-healthy fats.

Edamame – Edamame has soy protein can help lower cholesterol levels. A cup of edamame also has 8 grams of heart-healthy fiber.

Tofu – Eat tofu and you will get a great form of vegetarian soy protein with heart-healthy minerals, fiber, and polyunsaturated fats.

Sweet Potatoes – Swap white potatoes for sweet potatoes. With a lower glycemic index than white potatoes, these spuds won’t cause a quick spike in blood sugar.

Oranges – Sweet and juicy, oranges have the cholesterol-fighting fiber pectin. They also have potassium, which helps control blood pressure.

Barley – Try this nutty whole grain in place of rice. You can also simmer barley into soups and stews. The fiber in barley can help lower cholesterol levels.

Oatmeal – A warm bowl of oatmeal fills you up for hours, fights snack attacks, and helps keep blood sugar levels stable over time — making it useful for people with diabetes, too.

Flaxseed – This shiny, honey-colored seed has three things that are good for your heart: fiber, phytochemicals called lignans, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Low-Fat Yogurt – When you think of dairy foods, you think, “Good for my bones!” These foods can help control high blood pressure, too. Yogurt is high in calcium and potassium.

Foods Fortified with Sterols – Some margarines, soy milks, almond milks, and orange juices have cholesterol-fighting sterols and stanols added.

Cherries – Sweet cherries, sour cherries, dried cherries, and cherry juice — they are all good. All are packed with an antioxidant called anthocyanins.

Blueberries – Blueberries are simply brilliant when it comes to nutrition. They’ve got anthocyanins, those blood vessel-helping antioxidants.

Dark Leafy Greens – Your parents were onto something when they told you to eat your greens. They are full of vitamins and minerals.

Swiss Chard – This dark green, leafy vegetable is rich in potassium and magnesium. These minerals help control blood pressure. Swiss chard also has heart-healthy fiber, vitamin A, and the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin.

There you have it! 21 Heart Healthy Foods. Add in a little exercise consisting of cardiological and weight training, and some yoga for relaxation and you can reduce your risk of heart disease. Make sure you discuss with your physician before starting an exercise regimen