Cardiovascular Friendly Foods
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. According to the American Heart Association, roughly 81 million US adults have heart disease, including 25% of women and 49% of men. The good news is, your diet and lifestyle choices can help you prevent a heart attack or reduce your chances of developing heart disease or dying from it.
Read on to know some examples of heart-friendly food.
“The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish per week,” says cardiologist Dr. Nieca Goldberg, medical director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. “Fish is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce inflammation and protect against heart disease.”
Great choices include salmon, tuna (either fresh or canned), cod, and trout. Other sources of omega-3s include flaxseeds, walnuts, and soybeans.
These foods are low in calories and high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They can help you maintain a healthy weight and may reduce your risk of heart disease.
Spinach, kale, and collard greens are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. In particular, they’re a great source of vitamin K, which helps protect your arteries and prevent blood clots. They also contain dietary nitrates: when given in high doses over time, these compounds have been shown to reduce blood pressure and improve the function of cells lining the blood vessels. Some studies have found a link between increasing your intake of leafy green vegetables and a lower risk of heart disease.
Berries are also rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins, which protect against oxidative stress and inflammation that contribute to the development of heart diseases. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries are examples of berries that improve the function of cells that line the blood vessels, help control blood pressure and blood clotting.
Avocados are an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which have been linked to reduced levels of cholesterol and a lower risk of heart disease. Avocados which are rich in potassium possess lipid-lowering and cardioprotective which have been demonstrated in several studies.
- Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants like flavonoids. It has been associated with a lower risk of developing calcified plaque in the arteries and coronary heart disease.
Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, a natural plant pigment with powerful antioxidant properties. The antioxidants help neutralize harmful free radicals, preventing oxidative damage and inflammation, both of which can contribute to heart disease. Low blood levels of lycopene are linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Increasing the intake of tomato products and lycopene supplementation have positive effects on blood lipids, blood pressure, and endothelial function.
Almonds are high in fiber and monounsaturated fats and have been linked to reductions in cholesterol and belly fat.
Garlic and its components( e.g allicin) have been proven to help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. They may also help inhibit platelet buildup, which may reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke blood clot formation.
Edamame is an immature soybean frequently found in Asian cuisine. Like other soy products, edamame is rich in soy isoflavones, a type of flavonoid that may help lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health. Including soy protein in your diet may lead to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition to its isoflavone content, edamame is a good source of other heart-healthy nutrients, including dietary fiber and antioxidants.
- Green Tea
Green tea has been associated with several health benefits, from increased fat burning to improved insulin sensitivity. It’s also brimming with polyphenols and catechins, which can act as antioxidants to prevent cell damage, reduce inflammation, and protect the health of your heart.
In summary, what you eat can influence almost every aspect of heart health, from blood pressure and inflammation to cholesterol levels and triglycerides. Including these heart-healthy foods as part of a nutritious, well-balanced diet can help keep your heart in good shape and minimize your risk of heart disease