Best 7 Heart-Healthy Foods

Best 7 Heart-Healthy Foods

Eating for a healthy heart means filling your plate with fruits and vegetables, paying attention to fiber, eating fish a couple times a week and limiting unhealthy fats like saturated and trans fats, as well as salt. And although no single food is a cure-all, certain foods have been shown to improve your heart health. Find out how these 7 foods may help lower your risk of heart disease.

1. Avocado
As if you needed another reason to love avocados, the creamy green super food is also good for the heart. They’re jam-packed with monounsaturated fatty acids, which help lower cholesterol levels and may help prevent blood clotting. They also contain potassium, which may help control blood pressure, and magnesium, which has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease in men.  Adding some avocado to your meal can also help to increase satiety and satisfaction, which may help with weight management another way to keep your heart healthy in the long run.

2. Asparagus
It’s almost asparagus season and that’s great news for your taste buds and your heart. The super food contains vitamin K, which can help with blood clotting, and potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure. It also boasts two nutrients that help lower blood cholesterol: soluble fiber and saponins (nutrients that stop the digestive tract from absorbing cholesterol as easily).

3. Dark Chocolate
Chocoholics, rejoice! Because of the flavanoids antioxidants that can help suppress LDL, or “bad” cholesterol present in chocolate, indulging in a square or two may decrease your risk of stroke (Experts recommend sticking to one ounce per day, two to three times per week). Nibbling on the sweet stuff can also keep your heart strong by keeping arteries flexible and preventing white blood cells from adhering to the walls of blood vessels. Both of these benefits help prevent atherosclerosis, the hardening of arteries that can lead to heart attack or stroke. Just remember to stick to dark chocolate your best bet is one with a cacao content above 70 percent.

4. Fatty Fish
While a recent study casts some doubt on whether eating fatty acids has heart-healthy benefits, a lot of research suggests foods containing this nutrient have a long history of reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Case in point: Recent research links a fatty fish-rich diet with a lower risk of coronary artery calcification, which can lead to heart disease. Yet another study suggests the polyunsaturated fatty acids found in fatty fish lower blood pressure and resting heart rate, and may also improve vascular function and lower inflammation. And the American Heart Association still suggests adding fish particularly fatty fish, like salmon and albacore tuna to your plate two times per week.

5. Garlic
It’s totally worth the vampire-repelling breath! Not only does garlic add a kick of flavor to any dish, but it also reduces cholesterol and blood pressure and improves blood flow. You might want to stick to fresh garlic to reap the most benefits, though. While both fresh and processed garlic help with promoting healthy blood flow in the heart, research suggests that fresh, crushed garlic is more effective (though it’s worth noting that it was a study done in mice).

6.Yogurt
Research shows yogurt may protect against gum disease. Left unchecked, gum disease may elevate a person’s risk for heart disease.
Researchers from Japan analyzed dietary intakes from nearly 1,000 adults and found those who consumed the highest levels of dairy—specifically yogurt and yogurt-type drinks—had the healthiest gums. Their report, published in the Journal of Periodontology, credits probiotics (a.k.a. “good bacteria”) as one possible champion of gum health. Experts believe that probiotics may help to counter growth of the “unfriendly” bacteria in the mouth. Probiotics are live active cultures used to ferment foods, such as yogurt and kefir (fermented milk), and studies suggest that they may improve digestion and boost immunity too. As for gum health, it’s not yet clear how much yogurt (or other fermented dairy foods) one needs to consume to reap the benefits, says Yoshihiro Shimazaki, D.D.S., Ph.D., of Kyushu University, the study’s lead author.

7.Whole Grains
People who eat plenty of whole grains tend to be leaner and have a lower risk of heart disease than those who don’t. This is probably because whole grains contain antioxidants, phytoestrogens and phytosterols that are protective against coronary disease.

The fiber in whole grains also has its benefits: various studies link a high-fiber diet with a lower risk of heart disease. In a Harvard study of female health professionals, people who ate a high-fiber diet had a 40 percent lower risk of heart disease than those who ate a low-fiber diet.

Aim to include plenty of foods that are rich in soluble fiber, which, studies show, can help lower “bad” LDL. Soluble fiber binds bile acid, a key component in fat digestion that our bodies make from cholesterol. We can’t digest fiber, so when bile acids are bound to it, they get ushered out of the body as waste. This causes the body to convert more cholesterol into bile acids, which ultimately has the effect of lowering circulating cholesterol levels. Foods high in soluble fiber include oatmeal, barley, beans, okra and eggplant, and citrus fruit, such as oranges.


Best 7 Heart-Healthy Foods Best 7 Heart-Healthy Foods Reviewed by jack brown on 07:43:00 Rating: 5

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