The link between diet and heart disease is now stronger than ever before. What you put on your plate influences just about every aspect of heart health, from blood pressure and inflammation to cholesterol levels and triglycerides.
Heart-healthy foods and well-balanced diet can help keep your heart in good shape and minimize your risk of heart disease.
Below are some foods…
1. Leafy green vegetables
Leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and collard greens are well-known for their wealth of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. In particular, they’re a great source of vitamin K, which helps protect your arteries and promote proper blood clotting.
They’re also high in dietary nitrates, which have been shown to reduce blood pressure, decrease arterial stiffness and improve the function of cells lining the blood vessels.
Leafy green vegetables are high in vitamin K and nitrates, which can help reduce blood pressure and improve arterial function. Studies show that a higher intake of leafy greens is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
2. Whole Grains
Whole grains include all three nutrient-rich parts of the grain: germ, endosperm and bran. Common types of whole grains include whole wheat, brown rice, oats, rye, barley, buckwheat and quinoa.
Compared to refined grains, whole grains are higher in fiber, which may help reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease.
Studies show that eating whole grains is associated with lower cholesterol and systolic blood pressure, as well as a lower risk of heart disease.
Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are jam-packed with important nutrients that play a central role in heart health.
Berries are also rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins, which protect against the oxidative stress and inflammation that contribute to the development of heart disease.
Berries are rich in antioxidants. Studies show that eating them can reduce multiple risk factors for heart disease.
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 are also rich in potassium, a nutrient that’s essential to heart health. In fact, just one avocado supplies 975 milligrams of potassium, or about 28% of the amount that you need in a day.
Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats and potassium. They may help lower your cholesterol, blood pressure and risk of metabolic syndrome.
Walnuts are a great source of fiber and micronutrients like magnesium, copper and manganese. Studies suggest that walnuts can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure and may be associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
Beans contain resistant starch, which resists digestion and is fermented by the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
Beans are high in resistant starch and have been shown to reduce levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, lower blood pressure and decrease inflammation.
Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, a natural plant pigment with powerful antioxidant properties.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene and have been associated with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as an increase in “good” HDL cholesterol.
8. Dark chocolate
Dark Chocolate is rich in antioxidants like flavonoids, which can help boost heart health.
Consuming chocolate in moderation (less than six servings a week) may decrease your risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Remember that though some studies show an association, they don’t necessarily account for other factors that may be involved.
Additionally, chocolate can be high in sugar and calories, negating many of its health-promoting properties.
Garlic has potent medicinal properties that may help improve heart health.
This is thanks to the presence of a compound called allicin, which is believed to have many therapeutic effects.
Garlic can also inhibit platelet buildup, which may reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke.
10. Olive oil
Olive oil is packed with antioxidants, which can relieve inflammation and decrease the risk of chronic disease.
It’s also rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which many studies have associated with improvements in heart health.
Olive oil is high in oleic acid and antioxidants and can help prevent and treat hypertension.