10 Heart-Healthy Foods to Include in Your Diet
Include these 10 foods in your daily diet to keep heart diseases at bay.
Young deaths due to heart attacks and a rising number of heart disease patients are one of the common challenges the health industry is facing these days.
According to PubMed Central, one-third of the world's population suffers from heart problems. This makes it important that we pay attention to our health and take the required measures to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
A few dietary and lifestyle changes can go a long way in keeping your heart healthy. Therefore, we have come up with a list of heart-healthy foods that shall keep your triglycerides, blood pressure, and cholesterol in control that have been proved to be the major reasons for an unhealthy heart.
1. Leafy Green Vegetables
Collard Green, spinach, and kale are the few members of the leafy green vegetable family and they are packed with minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins.
There are few nutrients that play a major role in keeping the heart healthy. According to PubMed Central, vitamin K in these vegetables protects the arteries, and the cells lining the blood vessels promote blood clotting and arterial stiffness. Regular consumption of green veggies can reduce the risk of heart disease by 16 percent.
2. Whole Grains
Whole grains are an important dietary requirement because refined grains or carbs increase the risk of coronary heart diseases. According to the US NIH, you can make whole grains like barley, oats, quinoa, brown rice, and whole wheat as a part of your diet if you want to reduce the risk of heart diseases by 22 percent.
Who doesn't enjoy a handful of strawberries, blackberries, or raspberries? Everyone does and you should also know that these berries are rich in antioxidants called anthocyanins, which protect us against inflammation and oxidative stress thus protecting our heart (US NIH).
According to PubMed Central, strawberries improve LDL cholesterol and insulin resistance, blueberries help with blood clotting and blood pressure. These berries can help maintain systolic pressure, BMI, and inflammation as well.
According to the NCBI, avocados are linked to heart protection benefits due to the presence of monounsaturated fats, which reduce the cholesterol levels and lipid proteins thus reducing the risk of heart diseases.
Moreover, the presence of protein which is 28 percent of the RDI has heart-protecting effects, and blood pressure regulating effects and thus reduces the risk of heart strokes by 15 percent.
According to PubMed Central, few varieties of plant-related nuts, especially walnuts protect the heart against cardiovascular diseases. The effects are the result of the micronutrients like copper, manganese, and magnesium present in them. Moreover, studies show that regular consumption of walnuts is linked to lower LDL levels and overall cholesterol thus maintaining a healthy heart.
Beans have resistant starch that resists the process of digestion and it is fermented by the gut bacteria thus promoting various health benefits. The consumption of beans has been linked with lower levels of triglycerides, blood pressure, inflammation, and LDL levels that are the main causes of heart diseases (US NIH).
Garlic has been used for its medicinal purposes and as a home remedy for decades and it has also been linked to the overall improvement of heart health.
According to the NCBI, garlic has allicin, which has therapeutic effects and garlic extracts have also been found in the medicines prescribed for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. There is evidence that shows that garlic inhibits the platelet buildup, which reduces the risk of strokes and blood clots.
8. Olive Oil
Olive oil is a staple for the Mediterranean diet and its benefits on health have been well researched. The antioxidants in olive oil have been shown to relieve inflammation and the risk of chronic diseases whereas the monounsaturated fats are linked with the overall heart health improvement (PubMed Central).
Moreover, the presence of oleic acid prevents hypertension and reduces the risk of death due to heart-related diseases by 48 percent.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which is not only a plant pigment but also possesses the benefits of antioxidants. Antioxidants are necessary to neutralise the harmful effects of free radicals and oxidative stress thus reducing the risk of heart diseases (NCBI).
Lycopene also improves blood lipids, endothelial function, and blood pressure, increasing HDL levels and getting rid of excess plaque and cholesterol (PubMed Central).
10. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is linked to the improvement of heart health since it is rich in antioxidants called flavonoids and reduces the risk of diabetes, strokes, and heart diseases. Though dark chocolate is high in calories and sugar as compared to other foods mentioned above. Therefore, you can choose chocolate with 70 percent or more cocoa in order to enjoy the benefits.
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