10 Superfoods for a Healthy Heart
While giving up smoking, exercising regularly and losing excess weight are three important ways you can reduce your risk of heart disease, choosing the ten superfoods for healthy heart rich in cardio-protective nutrients is another positive step you can take.
With more than 700,000 heart attacks in the United States each year, it is understandable that you want to do all you can to protect your heart. While giving up smoking, exercising regularly and losing excess weight are three important ways you can reduce your risk of heart disease, choosing foods rich in cardio-protective nutrients is another positive step you can take. You probably know that foods high in saturated fat and salt are bad news for your heart, but which foods are beneficial? Read on find out about 10 of the best foods to keep your heart healthy.
Unlike most other fruits, avocados are high in fat, though they are rich in heart-friendly monounsaturated. This type of fat promotes healthy cholesterol levels by lowering levels of harmful LDL cholesterol and increased levels of protective HDL cholesterol. If you don’t usually eat avocados, try them sliced in a salad or a sandwich.
Blueberries is a Superfood for a Healthy Heart
The idea that blueberries are a superfood isn’t new, but how exactly do they protect your heart? Blueberries are rich in anthocyanins, which have significant antioxidant activity. Acting as antioxidants allow anthocyanins to neutralize harmful free radicals that narrow your arteries. Other fruits rich in anthocyanins include blackberries, cherries, cranberries, pomegranates, and raspberries. Besides snacking on berries, make a smoothie or blend frozen berries with natural yogurt to make an iced dessert.
All nuts are a good option when it comes to a cardio-protective diet, but what makes Brazil nuts special is that they are rich in selenium. Selenium is an important component of antioxidant enzymes. Eating just one Brazil nut each day meets your daily needs for selenium. An easy way to eat Brazils is to add a couple of nuts to your breakfast cereal every morning.
Broccoli is packed with folate, one of the B vitamins that help to keep homocysteine levels in check. Raised levels of homocysteine are significant, as they are linked to a greater risk of heart disease. Spinach, Brussels sprouts and asparagus also offer good quantities of folate. If you usually dislike boiled vegetables, try green vegetables in a stir-fry instead.
Chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa has a high polyphenol content. Polyphenols are another antioxidant, which may lower blood pressure and make your blood less likely to clot. Research shows that eating chocolate with a high cocoa content each day may cut your risk of having a heart attack. However, you need to watch your portion sizes, as just a couple of squares of dark chocolate are enough to be beneficial without contributing excess calories.
If you enjoy a bowl of porridge in the morning, eating oats is an easy way to increase your intake of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps to lower levels of harmful LDL cholesterol by preventing the absorption of cholesterol into your blood. Other foods rich in soluble fiber include fruit, vegetables, pulses and pearl barley.
When you bake your potatoes in the oven, this conserves their potassium content. Potassium helps to counteract the negative effects of sodium, helping to keep your blood pressure in check. Most vegetables and fruits are also high in potassium, but mushrooms, leafy greens, squash, avocados, bananas and dried fruits supply potassium in greatest amounts.
Did you know that Sardines are one of the 10 Superfoods for a Healthy Heart
Canned sardines are an economical way to boost your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats reduce the likelihood of blood clots forming, lower your blood pressure and help your heart to beat with a regular rhythm. Salmon, herring, mackerel, and trout are also rich in omega-3 oils. However, if you don’t eat fish, walnuts, flax seeds, and chia seeds are good plant-based sources of omega-3.
Pulses are an important part of a cardio-protective diet, but soya beans appear particularly beneficial. Various scientific studies show that regular consumption of soya beans lowers LDL cholesterol. The cholesterol-lowering effect of soya beans might be down to the fact they are high in soluble fiber and isoflavones. The latter have mild estrogenic action, and the hormone estrogen known to have a positive impact on cholesterol levels. If you aren’t sure how to use soya beans, they make a good addition to a salad and can replace meat in many dishes.
Tomatoes are also imprtant part of the 10 Superfoods for a Healthy Heart
The red color of tomatoes is thanks to an antioxidant known as lycopene. Studies show that lycopene may help to protect the walls of your blood vessels from damage. You can also get good quantities of lycopene from guavas, watermelons, papayas, pink grapefruit and red peppers.
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