Heart disease is the most common cause of premature death in the world. Around 600,000 people die from heart disease every year in the U.S. alone. Today we’ll discuss about how heart healthy foods can help us prevent heart diseases.
You might think that you are young. So you won’t have to worry about your heart health. But you are wrong. Almost half the population between the ages of 18 and 24 suffer from at least one risk factor for heart disease.
The good news for young folk is that most heart disease can be prevented through healthy diet and lifestyle choices. So in this article, we decided to take a look at the 11 best foods for heart health.
11 Best Heart Healthy Foods
Oatmeals are full of omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. They also contain a soluble fiber called beta-glucan. Beta-glucan lowers your LDL (or bad) cholesterol.
So always start your day with a bowl of oatmeals. One and a half cups of cooked oatmeal gives you the amount of fiber you need to keep bad cholesterol down in your body. You can also eat a medium sized banana with it for another 4 grams of oatmeal.
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have an anti-clotting effect. So it keeps clotting at bay. They can also reduce your blood pressure and help lower triglycerides. They may also improve your vascular function and lower inflammation. Salmon also contain a very powerful antioxidant called carotenoid astaxanthin.
Aim for at least two servings of salmon every week. And when buying, choose wild salmon over farm-raised. Farm-raised fish can be packed with pesticides, insecticides, and heavy metals.
If you don’t like salmon, you can choose other fatty fish such as mackerel, tuna, trout, herring, and sardines.
3. Olive Oil
The Mediterranean has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease in multiple studies. Olive oil is a staple in the traditional Mediterranean diet.
Olive oil is full of monounsaturated fatty acids. It lowers LDL “bad” cholesterol in your body and decreases your risk of heart disease. Olive oil is also loaded with vitamin E, which more than 90 percent of Americans don’t get enough of.
If you consume olive oil, you can limit trans fats and fats from animal products. As a result, they won’t be able to raise LDL cholesterol in your body.
Avocados are packed with monounsaturated fat. They can help lower LDL “bad” cholesterol and raise HDL “good cholesterol in your body. They also have an anti-inflammatory effect. As a result, you won’t get chronic inflammation.
Avocados also contain potassium and magnesium. They may help control blood pressure and decrease your risk of heart disease.
If you are overweight, avocados will help you lose weight. They increase satiety. As a result, you eat less and lose weight. Staying fit is one of the best ways to keep your heart healthy in the long run.
Nibbling on nuts decreases your risk of dying from heart disease by as much as 29 percent. This is because they contain monounsaturated fats. As you already know, monounsaturated fat lowers bad cholesterol in your body.
They also contain a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and fiber. Other nuts such as almond and cashew can also be good for your heart.
Almost every fruit is great for your health. But none contains more benefits than berries. They are loaded with an antioxidant called polyphenols. Polyphenols free your body from damage-causing free radicals.
They also contain fiber, vitamin C, and anti-inflammatories. These reduce your risk of cancer, stroke, and heart diseases.
So, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries – whatever you like best, keep eating them.
Legumes (chickpeas, lentils, other kinds of beans) are packed with soluble fiber, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. They can lower inflammation and “bad” cholesterol.
They can also boost your heart health and minimize your risk of heart disease. Lentil can decrease your risk of dying from heart disease by as much as 82 percent.
8. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate can improve several risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Cocoa powder has been found to increase HDL (“good” cholesterol) and decrease total LDL (“bad” cholesterol) in men with elevated cholesterol. This is because they are rich in flavanols. They can also help lower your blood pressure and keep blood clotting at bay.
Cocoa powder is the raw ingredient in chocolate. So you can get the same benefit by eating a chocolate bar.
When you are in the market, choose organic, dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content. This way, you will get less sugar and more flavanols.
High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for heart disease. This condition (abnormally high blood pressure) is called hypertension. Studies suggest that people with hypertension may lower their blood pressure by consuming yogurt regularly. This is because they are high in potassium.
Other dairy products also contain potassium. So they also have a similar benefit. Just choose free-fat or low-fat dairy products. Because the saturated fat in milk can raise your cholesterol
But yogurt has a lot of other benefits. It contains good probiotics (good bacteria). They help your gut stay healthy. They can also improve your digestive health, bone health, and help you lose weight.
Oranges are great for your heart. They contain fiber, flavonoids, and pectins among other things. Studies show that pectins prevent the scarring of heart tissue.
Studies also show that flavonoids may have protective effects against heart disease. Fiber, on the other hand, decrease blood cholesterol level.
11. Acerola Cherry
Acerola Cherry is another fruit that is very good for our heart. The high amount of Vitamin C in Acerola Cherry prevents heart diseases.
It also contains enough Potassium to dilates the blood vessels which increases blood flow & lowers blood pressure that ultimately reduces risk of heart diseases.
All of these together shows that oranges may help lower your risk of heart disease.
Which one of these foods is your favorite?