Our heart is a well-refined machine. To keep it working in top form, we need to provide it with good quality fuel. That means we should have a heart-healthy diet. Heart diseases have always been a problem, especially with the lifestyle we have today. According to research in America, two among every ten people have been diagnosed with heart diseases and high blood pressure. The case is going around everywhere in the world. Some foods supply our heart with great benefits. And to keep healthy, one has to make points to eat the right kinds of foods that help your heart stay healthy. Choosing the right heart-healthy foods can lessen the risk of cardiovascular diseases, coronary artery diseases that can lead to strokes and heart attacks.
25 Heart-Healthy Foods Everyone Must Know!
Below is the list where you can find 25 of the best foods to provide the best health to your heart and detox your blood vessels.
Apples are exceptionally rich in vitamins, fibers, and minerals, all of which are beneficial for health. They also contain an array of antioxidants, which help neutralize free radicals. An apple of 3 inches diameter and weighing 182 grams supplies 4.37 g of fiber. This amount is almost 13–20% of an adult’s average daily need, depending on their age and gender.
Nuts lower the blood cholesterol level. And for heart-healthy foods, almonds make an excellent choice among nuts. They provide plant omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, calcium, vitamin E, fibers, and heart-favorable unsaturated fats. Just eat a handful of dry roasted almonds every day, and you will be safe and healthy.
Avocados are a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which can reduce cholesterol levels and ensure a lower risk of heart disease. They are also rich in potassium that is essential to heart health. In fact, only one avocado supplies about 28% (975 milligrams) of daily potassium need.
When considering your health, consuming green vegetables is the best option because of the extra boost they give to your heart. These are rich in carotenoids, which are antioxidants. They are also high in fiber and contain loads of vitamins and minerals. Broccoli also has some omega-3 fatty acids.
People who eat around three servings of blueberries a week are at a 32% lower risk of a heart attack. This benefit is due to the compounds known as anthocyanins, which give blue color to the plant, and flavonoids (antioxidants). These compounds reduce blood pressure and dilate blood vessels.
Carrots are a really good source of fiber, beta carotene, potassium, vitamin K1, and antioxidants. They are great among the heart-healthy foods. They can lower your cholesterol levels, improve eye health, and help lower weight. Carrots can lessen your risk of getting cancer, heart diseases, strokes, and high blood pressure as they contain antioxidants. These antioxidants can get rid of harmful free radicals from within your body.
Cantaloupe is everyone’s favorite summertime fruit that has a bunch of heart-healthy nutrients, including lutein (carotenoids), alpha- and beta-carotene, B-complex and vitamin C, folate, soluble fibers, and potassium. You can consume it as a fresh fruit salad, or blend it into a smoothie, and enjoy anytime.
8. Dark Chocolate
To your surprise, chocolate is included among the heart-healthy foods. But it only applies to dark chocolate, which is 60-70% cocoa. Its consumption can reduce non-fatal heart attacks and strokes. Dark chocolate has flavonoids (polyphenols), which help lowering blood pressure, inflammation, and clotting.
Edamame beans are immature soybeans that are rich in fibers, proteins, and antioxidants. These plant constituents lower the body’s cholesterol levels, reduce risks of heart diseases, and improve blood lipid and fat profile, including triglycerides.
10. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Olive oil contains a considerable amount of healthy monounsaturated fats that can reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels in your body. According to a study, people who consume at least 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil per day are at a lower risk of heart attacks and strokes. Olives themselves are a good source of healthy fats and are delicious as well.
Flaxseed also has omega-3 as well as both soluble and insoluble fibers. It is among the richest available source of lignin and has qualities of both antioxidant and plant estrogen. Ground flaxseed can be easy to consume. You can incorporate it into your breakfast, sprinkle on low dietary fat yogurt, or on top of smoothies.
12. Green Tea
Green Tea is associated with many health benefits, from detox and fat burning to improved immunity. It is also overloaded with polyphenols and catechins (antioxidants), preventing cell damage, reducing inflammation, and maintaining heart-health. It can reduce total cholesterol significantly.
13. Kidney Beans
With the struggle of keeping healthy, kidney beans are best to control your body fat. They are known as protein and veggies source. Beans serve the purpose of a proper meal that can replace meat and other protein foods high in cholesterol.
Mangoes are among the heart-healthy foods because they contain large concentrations of polyphenols (mangiferin, gallotannins, and gallic acid). They also have some bioactive antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and anti-infection compounds. Pulse pressure and blood vessels also relax after eating this sweet, delightful fruit.
These citrus sweet-tart fruits make an excellent addition to your winter diet. They also have cholesterol-fighting pectin fiber, potassium, which helps control blood pressure, and vitamin C helps balance acids in the body and removes massive build-ups.
Oatmeal is quite a delicious breakfast food and a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. It is also packed with nutrients like magnesium, iron, and potassium. Well! After all, it is a fiber superstar and offers 4 grams in each one-cup serving. You can consume it with berries, making them one of the most heart-healthy foods.
The carotenoids, lutein, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin make the papaya a heart-healthy diet. It packs vitamins A and C, as well as folate, calcium, and potassium, into your diet. You can try it fresh, make it into a smoothie, frozen popsicle, add it to salsa, or however you like. It will bring you delight in a nutritious, heart-healthy diet.
Pomegranates have various antioxidants, containing heart-promoting polyphenols and anthocyanins that can get rid of hardening of the arteries. A daily intake of pomegranate juice for three months can show improvements in blood flow to the heart. This fruit can prove itself a better addition to your diet.
19. Red Bell Peppers
Red bell peppers are a bit sweet and have a slight watery crunch. They are full of heart-healthy nutrients such as beta-carotene and lutein, B-complex vitamins, folate, fibers, and potassium. Peppers are delicious when eaten as salads, or you can simply roast them for a hearty dish or add it to the sauce.
Popeye was right! Spinach packs a healthy punch with vitamin E and C, potassium, calcium, folate, and beta-carotene, which can significantly lower certain heart risks. Spinach makes a great addition to salads and sandwiches. You can also sneak some spinach into a fruit smoothie or mix into egg omelets. But the frozen spinach contains less folate in it.
Tofu or “bean curd,” is a vegetarian cheese made from soybeans and a great protein source. It is full of heart-healthy nutrients containing folate, niacin, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Tofu can be a part of almost any dish. You can add slices or cubes into your veggie stir fry, and enjoy!
Not all meats are unhealthy. Turkey is among the versatile heart-healthy foods, as it contains less saturated fats, less cholesterol, vitamin B, high-quality protein, selenium, zinc, and phosphorus. It also supports muscle growth and maintenance. So, you can enjoy this meat as soup, mixed in salads, or roast it.
Tomatoes are among versatile heart-healthy foods that have beta- and alpha-carotene, lutein (carotenoids), lycopene, vitamin C, fiber, folate, and potassium. Lycopene, in particular, protects from cardiovascular disease. Raw tomatoes make a good savory addition to a sandwich.
Walnuts provide similar health protection as other nuts. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, folate, fiber, magnesium. And also have heart-favorable monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Walnuts give a hearty crunch to your muffins. Just keep the portions in check.
25. Wild Salmon and Tuna
Salmon is a versatile food, full of omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower the risk of arrhythmias, reduce triglyceride levels, lessen plaque in your arteries, and maintain the blood pressure. Although tuna is not as high in omega-3s as salmon, it does provide a fair amount of omega-3 fatty acids and is an easy dinner when grilled.
Other Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy
Besides eating heart-healthy foods, one can also make a healthy routine of certain activities to maintain body fat and cholesterol levels. Following are a few points to consider.
1. Engage in activities
You can be at your best when you involve yourself in hobbies you like, and they provide cardio as well. These can be any light activity like jogging, crocheting. They can manage your stress and ultimately prove healthy to the heart.
2. Exercise and Stretch
Stretching and yoga can help improve your balance, strength, and flexibility. It can also relax your mind and relieve stress. Exercising also has the potential to improve your heart health and prevent cardiovascular diseases.
3. Stay Relaxed
Higher stress levels can lead to high blood pressures and may lead to complicated heart diseases and other cardiovascular disorders. This stress leads to a greater risk to your heart and overall health. So, relax and stay healthy.
4. Stay Away from Second-hand Smoke
There are a lot of steps you can take to protect your health and blood vessels. Avoiding tobacco uptake is one of the best methods. In fact, passive or second-hand smoke is more dangerous and riskier. It might prove life-threatening as well.
Some Worst Foods for Your Heart
1. Excess Salt
Excess salt is linked with bringing a significant rise in the blood pressure of a person. An average healthy amount is 5 gm per day, and more than that amount is harmful.
2. Saturated Fat – Margarine
These are also known as “Trans fat,” which clog the arteries and increase blood cholesterol levels. Thus, providing greater risk to cardiovascular diseases.
3. Deep-Fried Foods
The oils and fats with less oxidative stability provide greater risks of getting heart attacks over time. And, of course, the fried chicken and French fries impose greater risks.
4. Soft Drinks and Candies
Of course, they are sweet and delicious. But if you want to reduce your life quality, then sugar kills. On average, one bottle of soda contains up to 50 gm of sugar.
5. Processed Meats
Meats such as beef and bacon are high in saturated fats, raising blood cholesterol levels and elevating your risk of heart disease.
Thus, choosing the type of food we eat really makes a huge impact on how our health grows or degrades. Even though we might hate some foods, but they can prove healthy. Some other foods might be delightful to eat, but they are killing you from inside. In short, you must calculate the amount of nutrition your diet provides because health is the greatest wealth.