Did you know that heart disease is the #1 cause of death across the globe? The frequent consumption of processed foods, increased stress levels, and a sedentary lifestyle are mainly responsible for this situation. The good news is you can dramatically lower your risk for developing heart disease with heart-healthy nutrition.
Here are some easily available and convenient foods for maximizing heart health:
- Whole grains: Commonly known whole grains are brown rice, whole wheat, barley, rye, quinoa, and buckwheat. Whole grains are high in fiber, which help in reducing bad cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart disorders.
- Leafy green vegetables: They are a good source of vitamin K, which improves arterial function and promotes blood clotting. In particular, foods such as spinach, collard greens, and kale are rich in vitamins and minerals, which lower risk of heart ailments.
- Berries: Berries are considered as rich source of antioxidants and nutrients that play an important role in heart health. Commonly known berries are strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries.
- Avocados: An excellent source of monounsaturated fats, which are known to be heart healthy, avocados are linked to decreased levels of cholesterol.
- Fish and fish oil: Tuna, sardines, mackerel, salmon are known to be rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been extensively studied for their benefits of heart-health. If you do not consume fish, fish oil supplements can be considered as an option to gain the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Beans: Eating beans has been associated with decreased blood pressure, cholesterol, and inflammation.
- Tomatoes: Lycopene, a natural plant pigment with powerful antioxidant properties, is found to be abundant in tomatoes. A study has shown that eating 2 raw tomatoes 4 times a week increased levels of good cholesterol (HDL).
- Seeds: Several studies have found that including seeds such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds in your diet can improve heart disease risk factors, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and inflammation.
- Almonds: Research has shown that consuming almonds is linked with higher levels of HDL cholesterol, which helps to reduce plaques in the arteries.
- Green tea: Green tea has been known to promote increased fat burning and insulin sensitivity. It has also been associated with preventing cell damage, reducing inflammation, and lowering levels of LDL and total cholesterol.
- Olive oil: Higher intake of olive oil has been linked with lower blood pressure, which is important for your heart health.
- Dark chocolate: A rich source of antioxidants like flavonoids, dark chocolate is one of the select few foods that not only tastes good but also boosts heart health. However, it must be consumed in moderation as most chocolates have high sugar content. In general, the darker the color of the chocolate, the less sugar it contains.
As more and more data continue to emerge, it is increasingly clear that diet has a major influence on heart health. By adding the above-mentioned heart-healthy foods and following a well-balanced diet you can certainly minimize your risk of heart disease and improve heart health.