Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and the numbers have been increasing steadily over the last few years. In fact, you may already know someone who has suffered from or is currently suffering from a heart disease, which makes heart disease much too common right now. Of course, with the right diet and exercise, your body and your heart will become healthy and strong over a period of time. Even when it comes to food, there are particular foods that specifically help to keep the heart healthy. Knowing what foods to eat more often can help us understand how to maintain a long and health life. Below are some superfoods that are known to keep your heart happy and healthy:
Oatmeal is a food that has high levels of soluble fiber, which has shown to help lower cholesterol levels in the body. It essentially acts a sa sponge in the digestive tract and soaks up the cholesterol so that it is eliminated from the body rather than being absorbed in the blood stream. It is better to opt for quick cooking oats or the tradition types of oatmeal rather than to depend in instant cooking oatmeal because it often contains more sugar levels.
Blueberries and other types of berries like strawberries all contain compounds known as anthocyanins. These are flavonoids (also known as antioxidants) that have shown to help decrease blood pressure and dilate blood vessels, which can help the heart to keep functioning healthily. A study published in 2013 showed that women aged 25 to 42 that ate these berries had a 32 percent lower risk of developing heart disease later in their life as compared to women who ate less berries.
Salmon and other fatty fish like mackerel and sardines is known as the superstars in the heart healthy superfoods group. This is because these fish are packed with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that have been shown to reduce the risk of arrhythmia and atherosclerosis, both of which affect the heart and its health functioning. The American Heart Association recommends that people eat fish at least twice a week to maintain good heart health.
Most nuts contain fiber that is extremely important in maintaining heart health. This includes nuts like almonds, pistachios, macadamia nuts, peanuts and walnuts among other popular types of nuts. These nuts also contain vitamin E, which has been implicated in lowering bad cholesterol in our body. Moreover, walnuts in particular also contain omega-3 fatty acids that are one of the primary healthy fats that are needed to maintain good heart health.
Tomatoes are a great source of potassium, which is an important mineral in good heart health. Moreover, tomatoes are an excellent source of the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that has shown to help get rid of “bad” cholesterol, keep the blood vessels open, and reduce the risk of heart diseases. Tomatoes are also low in sugar and calories, which means they can be a great part of a healthy diet. They can be incorporated in all types of cooking, and make an excellent main or side dish.
Legumes are a healthy choice for vegetarians. These plant based foods like peas, lentils and beans are a wonderful source of protein, and they don’t come with too much unhealthy fats. A study published in the Archives of Internal medicine found that people who ate legumes at least for times a week had a 22 percent lower risk of developing heart disease when compared to people who ate them less than once a week. Moreover, legumes have shown to control blood sugar levels in the body, which means they help to ward off diabetes, as well as help those who have developed diabetes. This lowering of the blood sugar levels also helps in reducing the complications of diabetes, of which heart disease is one.
7. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds and chia seeds are quite popular among health conscious people, and for good reason. They have great amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which is great for your heart health, and they also contain high amounts of fiber, which keeps your digestive system functioning smoothly. This in turn can keep the overall working of your body in top shape. Flax seeds are also versatile foods, and there are many ways to incorporate them into a diet. You can have them raw, or use them in salads, or even include them in other heart healthy foods to make an excellent combination, like oatmeal.
Avocados are popular because they contain healthy fats, and like olive oil, they are rich in monounsaturated fats that have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, especially cholesterol, in people who regularly consume them. Moreover, avocados have high levels of potassium, which keeps the body and the heart functioning healthily, and antioxidants that help to target and kill free radicals that destroy healthy cells in our body. They can be eaten raw or used as an additional ingredient in all types of cooking, making them a popular choice.