Certain foods can help you have a healthy heart. The most effective diet to prevent cardiovascular diseases from occurring is the Mediterranean one, which consisting mainly of fish, whole grains and olive oil. Being loaded with Omega-3, essential fatty acids, fiber and mono-unsaturated fats, the following 10 foods will help keep your heart in shape:
Foods to Prevent Heart Disease
Add a little avocado to a sandwich or spinach salad to increase the amount of good fats in the diet you follow. As it contains monounsaturated fat, avocados help lower “bad” cholesterol levels (LDL) and increase the “good” cholesterol levels (HDL).
According to several nutritionists, avocado can be a great component of a diet. It aids in the absorption of carotenoids, especially beta-carotene and lycopene, which are essential for the good health of your heart, note the specialists.
Very rich in omega 3, salmon helps reduce blood pressure, as well as blood clotting. When consumed twice a week, it reduces the risk of mortality (due to heart attacks) by a third.
“Salmon contains the carotenoid astaxanthin, which is a very powerful antioxidant,” says cardiologist Stephen T. Sinatra, author of the book “How to lower blood pressure in eight weeks.” However, be sure to choose wild salmon over farmed one as the latter one may contain insecticides, pesticides and heavy metals.
If you do not like salmon, then you can opt for other fatty fish: mackerel, tuna, herring, sardines; all provide the same benefits for your heart.
3. Flax Seed
The high content of alpha-linolenic acid has managed to transform this ancient plant – flax – into a modern miracle food. Alpha-linolenic acid is a type of organism from which omega-3 fatty acids similar to those found in ocean fish are extracted.
Flaxseed benefits have been demonstrated through plenty of research, including studies which found to lower LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol), where flax has given remarkable results. Other flax seed benefits include the lowering of triglycerides in the blood and reducing blood pressure. You can add flax seeds in breakfast cereals or salads to form a healthy meal.
Soy is able to lower cholesterol levels, thus reducing the probability for heart diseases to appear. Also, because it is low in saturated fat, is a good source of protein for people with heart problems. Soy can be found in natural sources such as edamame (green soybeans). Soy milk is a great alternative and can be eaten with oatmeal. Watch the amount of salt in soy: some processed varieties may contain sodium additions that increase blood pressure.
5. Olive Oil
Rich in monounsaturated fats, olive oil lowers “bad” cholesterol levels and thus reduces the risk of heart disease. The results of several studies which researched the incidence of cardiovascular disease in the world, showed that although many men in Crete were predisposed to high cholesterol, very few of them died from heart disease because their diet focused on good fats found in Olive oil. When cooking, experts recommend to use extra virgin or virgin oil varieties that are the least processed instead of butter.
Spinach helps to keep your heart healthy because it contains lutein, folate, potassium and fiber. In general, increasing the consumption of vegetables is good for your heart. In a recent study were examined more than 15,000 people for one year who did not have cardiovascular disease. Those who consumed more than two and a half servings of vegetables per day had a risk of developing heart disease 25% lower when compared to those who never ate such food. Each new serving of spinach reduced risk by another 17%, experts say.
Rich in omega-3, fatty acids, mono and polyunsaturated fats, nuts, walnuts or almonds are extremely beneficial for your heart’s health. This also means that you’ll increase the quantity of dietary fiber in your diet. “Like olive oil, nuts and almonds are a great source of good fats”, says Dr. Sinatra, a renowned nutritionist.
Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, whatever you prefer, all have anti-inflammatory properties and reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. “Blackberries and blueberries have special properties,” according to Dr. Sinatra. “But all the other berries are very good for the health of the vascular system,” he says.
You can start your day with a bowl of oatmeal. They contain omega-3 fatty acids, folate and potassium. They are a good source of fiber, lower the “bad” cholesterol and help keep your arteries healthy. To get a better taste and increase the amount of fiber you can combine them with a banana.
Lentils, chickpeas and beans are a good source of fiber. Also, vegetables containing omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and soluble fiber are needed to have a healthy heart.