Top 20 excellent foods for your heart
To prevent heart attacks, it is essential to avoid unhealthy foods but also to eat foods rich in nutrients, fibre, and healthy fats. While in recent years, the number of deaths from heart disease has declined, they continue to be the leading cause of death in the world. The good news is that we now know a lot more about how to prevent cardiovascular disease, which includes both stroke and heart attack. Healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise can make a huge difference. We have compiled for you a list of 30 foods that you should adopt to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Salmon is an extremely rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, a class of polyunsaturated fats which have been shown to have a glut of heart-boosting effects. Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce blood clotting, cause a slight reduction in blood pressure, decrease triglycerides, and reduce the risk of heart failure and stroke.
Because it contains large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, salmon helps reduce the risk of arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries) as well as triglyceride levels. Doctors recommend eating fish and preferably fatty fish at least twice a week. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in dietary supplements.
In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, salmon also has significant amounts of the mineral selenium, which has antioxidant properties and has been shown by research to enhance protection against cardiovascular diseases. One thing to keep in mind is to always opt for wild salmon over the farmed one as wild salmon has much lower concentrations of contaminants than farmed salmon.
Oat flakes are rich in soluble fibre, which has the particularity of reducing cholesterol. They act like a sponge in the digestive system and absorb cholesterol so that it is eliminated from the body and not absorbed into the bloodstream. Dieticians recommend avoiding instant oatmeal because they often contain sugar. It is better to choose old-fashioned or even quick-cooking oatmeal. Other foods made from whole grains such as bread, pasta and corn grits are suitable for the heart as long as they contain whole grain cereals.
Blueberries, but also strawberries and other berries. According to a recent study, women aged 25 to 42 who consume more than three servings of blueberries and fruits a week have a 32% lower risk of having a heart attack. The authors of this study attribute this advantage to known compounds. Anthocyanins and flavonoids (which are antioxidants) that can lower blood pressure and dilate blood vessels. Anthocyanins give plants their red and blue colour.
Several studies concur that dark chocolate is right for your heart. For example, a 2012 study found that daily consumption of chocolate can reduce nonfatal heart attacks and strokes in people who are at high risk for these problems. Attention: the real dark chocolate must consist of at least 60 to 70% of cocoa. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids called polyphenols that help lower blood pressure. On the other hand (and unfortunately), milk chocolate and most chocolate bars are not recommended.
Women who consume large amounts of flavonoids found in oranges and grapefruit have a 19% lower risk of having an ischemic stroke (caused by a clot). Citrus fruits are also rich in vitamin C, which has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Beware of citrus juices that contain added sugar. Also, be aware that products containing grapefruit can interfere with the action of cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Soy products, including tofu and soymilk, can add protein to your diet without adding unhealthy fats and cholesterol. Soy products contain high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (good for your health), fibre, vitamins and minerals. What’s more, soy can reduce blood pressure in people who have a diet rich in refined carbohydrates. Finally, compared to milk or other proteins, soy protein can lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
There is no reason to flee the potatoes because they are stuffed with this “bad” starch. As long as they are not in the form of fried products, potatoes are good for your heart. They are rich in potassium, which can help lower blood pressure. They are also high in fibre, which can reduce the risk of heart disease.
You should eat more tomatoes! As for potatoes, tomatoes are rich in potassium, which is very good for the heart. Besides, they are a good source of lycopene. Lycopene is an antioxidant carotenoid that can help get rid of “bad” cholesterol, keep blood vessels open and reduce the risk of a heart attack. In addition, because they are low in calories and low in sugar, they are compatible with a healthy diet.
The watermelon culture is recounted in ancient Egypt, more than 5000 years ago, in the Nile Valley. Fruit star of the summer, this refreshing fruit is composed of 92% water. Not only does it hydrate, but it also contains many elements that are vital to the body, such as citrulline, which is used in the synthesis of arginine, an amino acid that promotes the healing process as well as the division of cells. Rich in antioxidants such as lycopene (red tomato also contains), watermelon contributes to the health of your heart. Do not forget to decorate your breakfast or your snacks with a slice of watermelon.
Nuts include almonds, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts and macadamia nuts, whose fibres are excellent for your heart. These fruits also contain vitamin E, which helps lower bad cholesterol. Some nuts, such as nuts, are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Be careful, however, avoid salted nuts.
Some nuts that are good for your heart include almonds. They deserve special attention. According to researchers at the University of Toronto (Canada), consuming 30 grams of almonds a day would reduce the level of bad cholesterol by 10 to 20%. Tests have shown that such a diet has a level of effectiveness almost comparable to that of a cholesterol-lowering drug! These virtues are linked to the richness of this dry fruit vitamin E. Although the kernel is caloric, several studies conducted in the 2000s showed that its consumption did not cause weight gain. So do not hesitate to add this dry fruit to your diet. It goes very well with cottage cheese. You can also enjoy it in a simple snack.
Garlic has been used for 5,000 years. Greek athletes used it to boost their sports performance, taking advantage of the properties of vasodilatation and broncho-dilation of this food that also helps fight against bad cholesterol.
Prefer raw garlic with cooked garlic. Thus, the recommended amount to reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems is 2 to 5 grams for the fresh garlic and 10 to 15 grams for cooked garlic.
This cereal has been cultivated for millennia. Barley is rich in tocotrienol, a form of vitamin E with strong antioxidant properties. In addition, several studies highlight the ability of tocotrienols to limit the proliferation of cancer cells. Finally, barley is rich in soluble fibre, nutrients that can reduce blood cholesterol levels and fight against the peak insulin. The next time you make a cake, consider mixing your wheat flour with barley flour!
Since legumes come from plants, the latter, such as beans, lentils and peas, are an excellent source of protein without containing much unhealthy fat. One study found that people who eat legumes at least four times a week have a 22% lower risk of having heart disease compared to people who consume less than once a week. Besides, legumes can help control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Note that among legumes, black beans have a high magnesium content, making them an excellent choice for the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Extra virgin olive oil
According to one study, people with a high risk of heart disease and having followed a Mediterranean diet (rich in cereals, fruits, vegetables) supplemented by the consumption of nuts and at least four tablespoons a day of cooking oil. Olive was able to observe a 30% reduction in the risk of heart attacks, stroke and death. Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids, which helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Olives themselves, whether green or black, are another source of “good” fat. Add them to your dishes!
Chives, marjoram, rosemary, mint and thyme are rich in antioxidants. These fragrant herbs strengthen the immune system and protect you from cardiovascular risks. Recommended in salt-free diets because of their low sodium content, aromatic herbs can be used to enhance your dishes.
The Cayenne pepper
In the same vein as the aromatic herbs are the cayenne pepper. The burning sensation associated with chilli comes from capsaicin, an antioxidant that promotes basal metabolism. Besides, capsaicin encourages the synthesis of two hormones, adrenaline and norepinephrine. These hormones burn sugars and fat reserves and are therefore recommended in dieting. Attention must be known to consume it in moderation to avoid intestinal irritation.
The red wine
Red wine would reduce the risk of heart disease. However, it’s all about balance. Thus, consuming more than two drinks a day would have the opposite effect. For some researchers, it is a compound called resveratrol, which gives the wine its benefits. However, if this is not your habit, you do not need to drink! Resveratrol is found in other foods, such as peanut butter and grapes.
The history of the cherry goes back a long time. Its culture dates back to the 4th century BC! France, for its part, owes the intensive culture of cherry to Louis XV who adored this fruit. Cherry is known for its phenolic compounds (especially anthocyanins) with antioxidant properties. Besides, it is one of the most antioxidant fruits. In practice, these antioxidants neutralise the free radicals responsible for a plaque on the artery wall that obstructs the circulation of blood and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The great favourite in Asia, green tea has become more and more popular in the West. It’s no longer a scoop: green tea is good for the heart. A recent study found that people who drank more than four cups of green tea a day saw their risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke decreased by 20% compared to people who “rarely” drink this drink. Antioxidants, known as catechins, could be responsible for this effect.
Chai, or chai tea, is a traditional Indian tea which is prepared from a blend of black tea and a combination of various spices. The spices that are used to make these delectable beverage include ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, black pepper, and clove. Anise, clover, and peppercorn are some of the other spices that may also be used.
Each of the above-mentioned ingredients has its own health-beneficial effects, thus resulting in the formation of a super-healthy beverage that is appetizing, to say the least.
Among these ingredients, black tea & cinnamon are the most healthful ones and may help in lowering blood pressure & cholesterol levels. Chai tea has a wide range of health benefits that include easing arthritis, helping prevent and treat nausea, supporting digestion, lowering blood sugar levels and decreasing the risk of heart disease.
This delightful Indian tea has seen its popularity rise in the U.S., with it being consumed here in the form of chai lattes, wherein a shot of chai tea concentrate is added to steamed milk, leading to the formation of a luscious beverage that consists of more milk than you would find in a conventional cup of chai tea.
As far as organ meats are concerned, the liver is the one with the most amounts of nutrients in it. The liver has chock-full of iron, copper, zinc, chromium and folic acid, which boost the haemoglobin levels in the blood aiding in keeping the heart-healthy.
Consumption of beans has been associated with a reduction in inflammation and blood pressure along with a decrease in the levels of triglycerides and cholesterol. Thus, beans can prove to be a great addition to a diet focused on maintaining a healthy heart.
Plain, non-processed oats are a great source of soluble fibre, which may help in reducing the risk of heart disease. Oats especially contain a form of soluble fibre called beta-glucan that helps in lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, and collard greens are nutritional powerhouses containing a wide array of essential nutrients like fibre, vitamins, and minerals. As far as nutrients concerning heart health are concerned, these vegetables have abundant quantities of nitrates and vitamin K which can assist in enhancing arterial function and reducing blood pressure. Additionally, they are also low in calories and research studies have linked higher levels of consumption of leafy green vegetables to a reduced risk of heart disease.
Broccoli is a highly nutritious cruciferous vegetable containing abundant amounts of nutrients. When it comes to cardiovascular health, broccoli is high on antioxidants and fiber and is known to lower cholesterol. This claim has been backed by some research studies which have shown that regular consumption of steamed broccoli can cause a drop in cholesterol levels and ward off heart disease.
Green tea, with its high levels of catechins and polyphenols, help reduce inflammation and avoid heart disease. It has been linked to lower levels of triglycerides, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Along with these heart-healthy effects, green tea is most well-known for boosting the burning of fat in the body and for causing enhancement in insulin sensitivity.
Walnuts are known for their high amounts of heart-healthy nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, fibre, and folate. Along with that, they are also a rich source of polyunsaturated fats, and the vitamins copper, manganese, and magnesium.
Research has linked the consumption of walnuts to assist in causing a reduction in blood pressure & cholesterol, and possibly elicit a decreased risk of heart disease.
Almonds are a great heart-healthy food with them comprising of a plethora of minerals & vitamins that are key to a healthy heart. Besides that, they also contain good amounts of monounsaturated fats & fibre. These scrumptious nuts have been associated with a decrease in belly fat and cholesterol levels, with research showing that eating almonds can aid in elevating the levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) which in turn improves arterial health.
Berries are well-known for their high levels of antioxidants. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries all have high levels of crucial nutrients that play a big role in maintaining a healthy heart.
Besides being a significant source of antioxidant polyphenols and anthocyanins that aid in reducing the risk of heart disease by neutralizing the disease-causing free radicals, berries also contain rich amounts of heart-healthy nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, iron, calcium, and fibre.
Blueberries also have generous amounts of flavonoids and resveratrol, antioxidants that assist in the prevention of coronary disease.
Like olive oil, avocados are also a rich source of healthy monounsaturated fats which help in lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart disease. Along with monounsaturated fats, they also have bountiful (1 avocado contains 28% of DV) of potassium, a mineral that can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome.
Considering the copious amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants found in olive oil, they can surely be one of the best additions to a heart-healthy diet. Antioxidants help alleviate inflammation by neutralizing harmful disease-causing free radicals while monounsaturated fatty acids are extremely healthy fats that have been shown by research to cause enhancements in heart health.
Thus, it is no wonder that the consumption of olive oil has been associated with lowering blood pressure and a decreased risk of heart disease.
The one thing you need to consider when shopping for olive oil is to make sure that it’s the extra virgin olive oil that you buy as it is the finest version of olive oil, containing higher levels of antioxidants and healthy fats as compared to other varieties.
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