Are you worried about your waistline because you are gaining instead of losing weight? More importantly, are you worried about your cardiovascular health? Along with regular exercise and healthy lifestyle changes, a right diet fills the needs of your body with the right nutrients.
Here are 14 foods everyone should include on their daily menu, for a healthy heart.
Fish that are rich in omega 3 is good for your heart because it helps lower the risk of irregular heartbeat also known as arrhythmia and prevents the build up of plaque in your arteries or atherosclerosis. Eating salmon at least twice a week is highly advisable for a healthy heart. You can also purchase dietary supplements that contains omega-3 fatty acids.
What could be your favourite breakfast also improves the condition of your heart! Oatmeal is one of the heart-healthy foods that contain soluble fibre. It lowers the level of bad cholesterol in your body because it serves as a sponge that sucks up all cholesterol so that it will directly go to waste instead of being absorbed in the bloodstream.
However, you should avoid eating instant oatmeal because they contain added sugar. Look for old-fashioned oats and pair it with your favourite fruit for your breakfast.
Blueberries, strawberries and other berries should be also included in your healthy diet. This is highly advisable for those who had been diagnosed with cardiovascular diseases because eating these fruits will help in lowering your risk for heart attack. They contain antioxidants such as flavonoids and anthocyanin that decreases high blood pressure and dilate blood vessels as well.
4. Dark chocolate
Who says you can’t have any chocolate in your diet? Contrary to the belief of most people, dark chocolate can help in reducing the risks of non-fatal heart attacks as well as strokes. Dark chocolates that comprise of 70% cocoa contain flavonoids such as polyphenols that helps in lowering high blood pressure, reducing the risks of blood clotting and inflammation in your cardiovascular organs. However, milk chocolate and other candy bars are not included on the list.
5. Citrus fruits
Oranges, grapes and other citrus fruits are rich sources of flavonoids that can help lower the risks of having ischemic stroke by about 19%. These fruits are also rich in vitamin C that helps in combating heart diseases. However, avoid grapefruit because they can interacts some cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins and calcium channel blockers) rendering them ineffective.
All soy products are highly advisable to eat because it contributes protein in your healthy diet without having to consume bad fats and cholesterol. Soy products are rich in polyunsaturated fats, fibre, minerals and vitamins that help in reducing high level of blood pressure. It is more effective in lowering bad cholesterol compared to milk products.
Contrary to the popular belief, potatoes are never a bad starch. In fact, they are recommended because it can help you in improving your cardiovascular health. Potatoes are rich in fibre that lowers the risk of having a heart disease. For as long as they are not deep-fried, potatoes are fine.
As much as possible, always add tomatoes to your meal! They are rich in potassium that is good for the heart as well as antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene helps in reducing bad cholesterol in your body and keeping the blood vessels open in order to prevent the risks of a heart attack. Tomatoes are low both in calories and sugar making it suitable as a staple in your daily diet.
Nuts such as peanuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios and macadamia nuts contribute positively on the health of your heart. They are rich in vitamin E that helps in lowering the level of bad cholesterol as well as omega-3 fatty acids. As much as possible, avoid consuming nuts with added salt.
Legumes that include beans, peas and lentils are rich in protein without contributing bad cholesterol in your body. Consuming legumes for at least four times in a week will help in lowering the risk of heart diseases by 22%. For people suffering with diabetes, it can help in controlling the level of blood sugar which avoids further complications that might lead to heart diseases.
11. Virgin olive oil
Consuming at least four tablespoon of virgin olive oil in a day can help you in lowering the risks of strokes and heart attack by about 30%. Olive oils are rich in monounsaturated fats that help in reducing both bad cholesterol and level of blood sugar. They contribute good fats into your body and helps in making your salad taste wonderful.
12. Red wine
Having wine included in your healthy diet definitely gives you a boost. Appropriate amounts of red wine (1 glass a day) helps in lowering the risks of heart diseases. Red wine is rich in polyphenol that is good for the heart. However, this should not be the excuse for you overconsumption and abuse.
13. Green tea
Green tea is not only delicious but is also beneficial for your heart. Drinking green tea at least four cups a day reduces your risk of cardiovascular diseases by about 20% as well as stroke. Green tea contains antioxidants known as catechins that are good for the heart.
Broccoli, kale and spinach should be all present in your salads. Green vegetables are known for having high level of carotenoids that helps your body to fight harmful compounds. They are also rich sources of fibre, minerals and vitamins.
Now that you know the top heart-healthy foods, you should start listing them down and make sure that you include them the next time you go grocery shopping . A heart-healthy diet is an integral part of maintaining the health of your cardiovascular system. Bon appetit!