Heart Diet 101
It’s no secret that you can boost your heart health by eating certain foods. We’ve compiled a list of the best foods you can eat on a regular basis to help improve your cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of heart disease.
1. Fish high in omega-3 fats
Omega-3 fats are some of the healthiest things you can consume for your heart health. They help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. High LDL levels can build up inside your arteries and cause infections and diseases.
Blueberries have a whole lot of phytonutrient antioxidants. They’re actually considered to be one of – if not the – highest source of fruit-based antioxidants on the face of the earth. These fight oxidative damage in the lining of cell walls which can cause diseases like atherosclerosis.
3. Flax seeds
These are a great tasting staple that you can include in lots of different meals. Flax seeds are very high in omega-3 fat and fiber. Grinding them before eating helps to release their nutrients. Flax flour can be used in place of whole wheat for many recipes.
It’s high in fiber, healthy carbohydrates and minerals that bolster your heart’s health. Oatmeal’s also a vital staple that will keep you full for a while, particularly when combined with nuts and berries from this list.
Dark beans, like black beans and kidney beans, are high in fiber and b-vitamins. B-vitamins are known to lower blood pressure, which takes some strain off your heart.
6. Red wine
That’s right! Not in excess, though – sorry, binge drinkers! A four ounce glass of red wine on the daily has been shown to improve HDL (good) cholesterol levels. HDL cholesterol is good because it’s a high-density lipoprotein, which travels through the arteries and attacks LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.
7. Red & orange vegetables
How about carrots, bell peppers, squash, sweet potatoes. These vegetables all share at least one thing – their high carotenoid content. Carotenoids are one of the classes of nutrients that make up vitamin B, and the one responsible for pigment in these veggies is beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a great nutrient for your heart.
Spinach is crazy high in iron. Iron’s responsible for helping your body create blood cells, and a lot of people are deficient in iron. Iron deficiency can result in anemia, which means that your body won’t be able to transport oxygen as efficiently.
9. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is great for your health in general, not just your heart. It contains a ton of antioxidants (if the cocoa content is high.) Shoot for dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa.
You can dip broccoli in hummus for an extra added health benefit. Broccoli has tons of different nutrients in it. Of particular interest for heart health are its fiber, potassium, and vitamin C content. The garlic from the hummus is packed with antioxidants.
Liver is also high in heart-healthy fats. Primitive humans ate the entirety of any animal they caught, including the liver. It’s a prime area for omega-3 fats and a lot of other enzymes that can do your body good.
Again, omega-3s are the culprit here. Walnuts are full of omega-3s, along with vitamin E and folate which are both good for their heart in their own right. You’ll want to look for unsalted walnuts to keep your sodium levels down.
13. Chia Seeds
These are not only a nutritional powerhouse, but also come at a low calorie count. 60 calories per serving will have your cholesterol levels lowering and your omega-3 levels rising!
Coffee is actually shown to have a high amount of antioxidants. It’s also shown that coffee can help reduce the chance of developing diabetes, which makes life easier for anyone’s heart.
Almonds are another nutritional (ha) powerhouse that are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids to help your heart. Almonds also come packed with protein, so they’ll keep you full for a long time!