10 Heart-Healthy Foods You Need in Your Diet

June 3, 2017

Eating the right food every day can help you reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and we are lucky because nature has provided a great variety of vegetables and fruits that are good for heart health. Foods that come from the ground in their natural form are recommended since they provide whole-food diets.

Healthy eating includes foods like whole grains, fish, fruits, and vegetables. An occasional treat of red wine or dark chocolate is also something you should not shy from. Using this list will guide you in creating a meal or a healthy snack with all that you need. Making just a few changes in your diet can mean a whole lot of difference to your cardiovascular health.

Go with nuts

Nuts are excellent for your heart, though the law is always on moderation in all that you do and eat. Stock up on healthy nuts like pistachios, cashews, walnuts, and almonds. They make for sweet, healthy snack that apart from keeping hunger at bay, also offer significant benefits to your heart. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids just like macadamia and almonds which are loaded with poly and mono-unsaturated fatty acids. Nuts are an excellent source of fiber in the human diet.

 Consider fish

Fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids like the salmon in any form is a good food for the heart health. It can effectively reduce blood pressure and prevent clotting. At least two servings each week can ensure your cardiovascular system is healthy.  This has the potential of reducing your risk of dying from a heart attack by up to 30 percent.

Salmon also contains a powerful antioxidant that makes it an excellent food choice for anyone who is health conscious. It is worth going for the wild salmon over farm-raised ones which have a higher chance of containing heavy metals, pesticides, and insecticides used on farms. If you are not a fan of salmon, you have other options like tuna, sardines, herring, and mackerel that can also give you the benefits of salmon.

Eat berries

Most berries are packed full of antioxidants that have potential benefits to the heart. Raspberries are a great choice, but you can mix or try other berries including blackberries, blueberries, strawberries or whatever berry you enjoy eating. They also contain anti-inflammatory agents that reduce the risk of heart diseases and cancer.

Oatmeal

Go for the steel-cut and rolled oats for the best health benefits and stay away from the pre-packed, sugar-laden varieties. Oatmeal helps in reducing cholesterol levels and has no negative side effects of the added sugars and that’s why a steaming hot bowl of oatmeal is a great way to start your day. The omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, and folate do a lot of good to the heart. It is rich in fiber making it good at lowering the levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), the bad cholesterols that clog arteries. Avoid the instant varieties and go for the steel cut options that have more fiber. Topping this with a banana adds some more fiber to your diet and increases your potassium intake to help with the synapses.

Get a chocolate treat

The extra dark chocolate that contains at least 70 percent cocoa is good for your heart. It has enough antioxidant much more than what you could get in red wine and five times that of green tea. Nothing compares to the antioxidant level of dark chocolate and it is therefore better to occasionally get a bar and treat yourself to this delicious, healthy snack.

Seeds

Chia seeds contain a good amount of omega 3 fatty acids helping reduce cholesterol levels, therefore, unclogging your arteries for healthy vascular function.  These seeds also benefit the body and skin in various ways. Flaxseeds are also full of omega 3s and fiber. Just a little sprinkle is all you need on top of your oatmeal bowl for a heart-healthy breakfast.

Go Green

Green vegetables like broccoli, kale, spinach, and Brussels sprout have lots of antioxidants, fibers, and plenty of vitamins that significantly benefits your heart. Spinach is rich in folate, fiber, potassium, and lutein making it a must in your shopping list as you head to the grocery. Any vegetable, even those not in this list are good to your heart one way or the other. Eating at least half a serving of vegetable every day reduces your risk of heart diseases by about 25 percent and each additional serving reduces the risk by 17 percent on top according to The Physicians’ Health Study.

Avocados

Considered a superfood due to its amazing benefits whichever way you eat or use it. They are full of good fat that helps lower cholesterol levels in the body when consumed in moderation. Their calorie count is high however hence the need to eat them moderately. You can add avocado to sandwiches, or to spinach salad to boost the healthy fats in your diet.

Sweet Potatoes

Who could have known that the regular sweet potatoes are this beneficial to the heart, they are rich in vitamin B6, vitamin C, Vitamin D, and calcium. They help reduce blood pressure, and their skin contains nutrients that keep the heart healthy.

Virgin oil

Using extra virgin oil in your cooking, increases the levels of monounsaturated fatty acids in the body. High levels of antioxidants help in unclogging arteries, reducing inflammation and reduce the risk of developing stroke and heart attack. The extra virgin olive oil is the least processed making them excellent for cooking to replace butter for a healthy heart. 

In addition to these ten, there more heart-healthy foods for those who have decided to take the health of their heart seriously before it is too late. Preserved foods like deli meat, bacon, and hot dogs contain high levels of salt making them unhealthy for the heart. Refined carbohydrates and soda, on the other hand, can raise your blood sugar rapidly, therefore, causing inflammation which is not good for the heart and the body in general.

When stocking your fridge, consider buying more healthy foods and less of the sweet unhealthy ones most of us are used to, with time the habit will be a part of your lifestyle, and you will end up treating your heart to the best foods.

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