A healthy diet can be good for your waistline and heart. You can reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease by consuming certain foods daily. There are various vegetables and fruits that are good for your heart.
Studies have shown that up to 70% of cardiovascular disease cases are preventable with the right food choices. Do not consume the same few foods. The secret is in trying various types of vegetables, fish, whole grains, and other foods you enjoy every day.
Below are the 10 top foods for your heart. You can mix and match a handful of them weekly, to eat your way toward a healthier you.
10 Heart Healthy Foods
Avocados are filled with healthy monounsaturated fats and are a source of potassium, a mineral known for controlling blood pressure. Also, they are also a good source of vitamin C, carotenoids and fiber.
Carotenoids are linked with a decreased risk of death from cardiovascular disease. In addition to its rich dose of fiber, avocados help your body absorb other antioxidants when eaten with vegetables such as carrots and spinach.
Blueberries are loaded with resveratrol and flavonoids, antioxidants that help prevent coronary disease. You can put them in your smoothies, oatmeal or yogurt.
3. DARK CHOCOLATE
Dark chocolate, at least 75% cocoa and 85% is best. It is not only a stress reducer, but is heart-healthy, too.
One study, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, showed that eating at least 6 ounces of dark chocolate daily, lowered bad cholesterol. Also, another researcher found that cocoa contains phenols, an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic compounds that reduce your risk of heart disease by keeping fat-like substances from oxidizing in your blood and clogging your arteries.
4. EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
In a study, individuals at high risk for heart disease who followed the Mediterranean diet, which is high in fruits, grains, vegetables, supplemented by nuts and at least 4 tablespoons a day of olive oil, reduced their risk of strokes, heart attacks and dying by 30%.
Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fats, which helps in reducing both blood sugar levels and cholesterol. Olives, both black and green, are good sources “good” fat. Also, they add a lot of flavor to salads.
5. LEAFY GREEN VEGETABLES
Kale, spinach, turnip tops, dandelion greens and Swiss chard are foods that provide iron and loads of vitamin C. These are both good for teeth, strong bones and hair, while vitamin A and magnesium, are excellent at helping you maintain calm.
Liver contains fats that are good for your heart, that is according to the preventive cardiologist and author of Wheat Belly. Livers contain lots of fats and that’s healthy.
Oatmeal is loaded with soluble fiber, which can help lower cholesterol. It acts as a sponge in your digestive tract and soaks up the cholesterol, so it is eliminated from the body and not absorbed into the bloodstream.
You should avoid instant oatmeal, which often contains sugar, but choose old-fashioned or even quick-cooking oats. Other whole grains such as pasta, bread, and grits are also good for the heart as long as they still contain the entire grain.
Salmon and other fatty fish including mackerel and sardines are the superstars of heart-healthy foods. This is because they contain huge amount of omega-3 fatty acids, asshown in studies that help lower the risk of atherosclerosis or plaque build-up in the arteries, arrhythmia and decrease triglycerides.
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish, most preferably fatty fish at least twice a week. Omega-3 fatty acids are also available as dietary supplements.
Tomatoes contain a healthy dose of heart-healthy vitamin C and are rich in lycopene. Vitamin C works as an antioxidant, which protects your cells from damage.
You can make your own tomato sauce using canned or fresh tomatoes, add oregano and chopped-up vegetables for a homemade pasta sauce with loads of antioxidant power.
Walnuts boost your heart functions with antioxidants and healthy omega-3 fats. Just eating two ounces per day has been shown to improve blood vessel function among individuals with diabetes and also protect people from heart disease who are at risk for it. A handful of nuts has been known to lower cholesterol levels and can help satisfy hunger.