12 Super Foods That Are Heart-Healthy
Did you know that cardiovascular diseases, including heart diseases and strokes, account for nearly one-third of deaths throughout the world? Alarming, isn't it?
Let's come down to the main purpose of this blog – in case you are a health conscious person – and we believe you are since you are reading this – we know you believe in planning your meals beforehand in order to include all the essential nutrients in your diet to enjoy a healthy heart to live happier and longer. For those who think that preventing heart attacks is mostly about avoiding unhealthy food – it is more than that. It is vital to include foods that are rich in nutrients, fiber and healthy fats in order to achieve a healthy heart. So before you sit down for your next meal planning session and write up your grocery list, sneak a peek at these super foods that are absolutely heart-healthy.
1. Green Leafy Vegetables
Low in calories and celebrated for their wealth of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants, green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are an amazing source of vitamin K that protects arteries and promote proper blood clotting.
2. Olive Oil
A staple in the Mediterranean diet, olive oil reduces the risk of heart diseases by lowering LDL cholesterol levels. It is rich in antioxidants and monounsaturated fatty acids, and thus, assists heart health.
3. Fatty Fish & Fish Oil
Fatty fish such as tuna, salmon and sardines are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids that are known for their heart-health benefits, as they help reduce the levels of total cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, blood triglycerides and fasting blood sugar. In case you don't like including fish in your meals, you may instead opt for fish oil for your daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids.
The nutrient powerhouse contains beta glucan – a soluble fiber – that cuts down total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels along with keeping the digestive system in fine fettle.
5. Whole Grains
Comprising germ, endosperm and bran – all three nutrient-rich parts of the grain – whole grains are loaded with fiber that helps reduce bad LDL cholesterol and lessen the risk of heart diseases.
Do you know why an apple a day keeps the doctor away? Well, because apples contain a phytochemical called quercetin that works as a natural anti-inflammatory agent.
Avocados are a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, which help reduce the levels of cholesterol and lower the risk of heart diseases. They also contain vitamins and phytochemicals, which work as antioxidants and help protect heart as well as various other parts of the body.
Packed with key nutrients for heart health such as phytonutrients and soluble fiber, a variety of berries – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries – are also a super source of antioxidants like anthocyanins that help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.
High in plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts are a great source of fiber and micronutrients such as copper, manganese and magnesium. Including these in your diet helps protect against heart diseases, as they reduce bad LDL cholesterol by up to 16%, inflammation and oxidative stress.
Rich in lycopene and vitamins, tomatoes provide you with all the essential antioxidants your body needs in order to protect your heart.
Containing omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and phytoestrogens – flaxseeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds help reduce the risk of heart diseases, cholesterol, blood pressure, inflammation and triglycerides.
12. Red Wine
About two glasses for men and one for women per day are recommended to boost good cholesterol levels.