One cannot deny that eating healthy provides a resolution to a variety of health problems. Among the many health benefits of a nutritious diet, reduction in the risk of developing cardiovascular disease takes one of the leading positions. Cardiovascular disease is a condition that affects an individual’s heart and blood vessels. According to statistics published by the American College of Cardiology, one in every four deaths (25%) in America in the year 2008 was caused as a result of heart disease.
There are several risk factors that contribute to heart disease but an unhealthy diet is one of the leading causes that can be controlled. If you want to include heart healthy foods into your diet, here is a list that may help you out.
Consuming fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids help boost overall cardiovascular health. Omega -3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation which is one of the causes of blood vessel damage and stroke. It is recommended to consume at least two servings of fish per week. Some of the varieties of fish rich in omega-3 include salmon, sardines, trout, mackerel, herring, and tuna.
Nuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, and several vitamins and minerals. If consumed in moderation, they can be an ideal high-energy snack. Consuming nuts may help lower the LDL or “bad” cholesterol in our bodies. This in turn prevents the formation of blocks in the blood vessels and arteries. Some of the healthiest nuts include walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans.
Seeds are rich in fiber, monounsaturated fatty acids, and vitamin E and help promote heart health. Chia seeds and flax seeds are known for their omega-3 fatty acid content. If consumed in adequate portions, they help reduce buildup of plaque in the arteries and lower levels of bad cholesterol.
4. Whole Grains
Including whole grains in your diet has numerous health benefits including lowering risk of type-2 diabetes, obesity, and improving blood cholesterol levels. Apart from this, incorporating gluten free and unprocessed whole grains into regular diet has proven to cause a significant decrease in risk of stroke and heart disease.
Adding berries to your diet is an excellent way to keep your heart healthy as they are chock-full with antioxidants and heart-healthy phytonutrients. They are also a great source of soluble fiber. Some heart healthy berries that you can incorporate into your diet include blueberries, acai berries, strawberries, and raspberries.
Some must-have greens like spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts are essential in promoting heart health. Apart from the fiber content of the vegetables, they also contain other nutrients like potassium, folate, vitamin C, and magnesium which ensure healthy overall functioning. Some other heart-healthy vegetables to include in your diet include asparagus, carrots, potatoes, and squash.
Fruits like oranges and grapefruit contain large amounts of vitamin C which is a powerful dietary antioxidant. Avocado, although high in calories, are loaded with “good” fats that help cholesterol levels. Apples are a rich source of soluble fiber and are associated with reduced blood pressure and decreased risk of stroke.
Bean varieties like kidney beans and black beans are high in fiber, B-vitamins, and several essential minerals. Soybean products like tofu and soy milk are also healthy foods that can be incorporated into your heart-friendly diet.
9. Dark Chocolate
The cocoa used in preparation of chocolate is rich in plant compounds called flavonoids which have been shown in studies to have beneficial effects on heart disease. It is essential that we consume limited quantities of chocolate with over 60% cocoa and less sugar to reap maximum benefits.
10. Red Wine
A substance called resveratrol present in red wine has been found to be the key ingredient in reducing the overall risk of cardiovascular disease. The antioxidants present in red wine may help increase the HDL cholesterol or the “good” cholesterol in our body. It may also help prevent buildup of plaque in the arteries. This being said, ensure to consume alcohol with caution as too much of it can be highly detrimental to health.