A healthy lifestyle and diet are the best weapons to fight heart disease. Certain food habits can affect triglycerides, blood pressure, inflammation, cholesterol levels, etc. which increase the risk of heart disease. Still, it is tough to change eating habits. Heart disease accounts for approximately one-third of the deaths worldwide. According to a study, foods for healthy heart may reduce the risk of stroke or heart disease by 80%.
Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, a preventive cardiology dietitian says that “You can decrease the risk of developing heart disease by having a specific diet.” She further adds that “There is a variety of vegetables and fruits that are good for the heart.”
So here in this article, we will incorporate some of the popular foods for healthy heart.
10 Best Foods for Healthy Heart
There are a lot of things that can help in keeping the heart healthy and disease-free, and foods for healthy heart is one of them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that consuming foods high in sodium, cholesterol, or fat can be very harmful to the heart. Eating foods for healthy heart is the best way to minimize the risk of heart disease.
So, let’s start with the best foods for healthy heart!
1. Leafy Green Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables like collard greens, kale, and spinach are foods for healthy heart and are known for their abundance of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Green leafy vegetables are a great source of vitamin K, which assists in protecting the arteries and improves proper blood clotting. They are high in nitrates, which helps to reduce blood pressure, lower arterial stiffness, and enhance the function of cells outlining the blood vessels.
A study performed on 29,689 women shows that high consumption of leafy green vegetables significantly lowers the risk of coronary heart disease.
According to research, it was found that leafy green vegetable intake lowered the incidence of heart disease up to 16%.
Asparagus is a great food for healthy heart as it is a natural source of folate. It helps to prevent the building up of amino acids known as homocysteine in the body. High homocysteine levels in the body increase the risk of heart-related ailments, like stroke and coronary artery disease.
3. Whole Grains
Whole grains incorporate three nutrient-rich components of the grain, endosperm, germ, and bran. Whole grains commonly include brown rice, whole wheat, barley, oats, rye, quinoa, and buckwheat, which are high in fiber as compared to refined grains. It helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and LDL cholesterol.
A study shows that having at least three meals of whole grains reduces systolic blood pressure by 6 mmHg which helps in decreasing the risk of stroke by around 25%.
In an analysis, it was found that eating whole grains daily lowers the risk of heart disease by 22%.
Blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries are jam-packed with vital nutrients. Berries are rich in antioxidants such as anthocyanins, which guard against the inflammation and oxidative stress that contribute to the growth of heart disease. It can be served as a delicious low-calorie dessert or satisfying snack.
Researches show that eating berries can reduce various risk factors for heart disease like systolic blood pressure, body mass index, LDL cholesterol, and some markers of inflammation.
Walnuts are great food for healthy heart as they contain fiber and micronutrients such as copper, magnesium, and manganese.
Study shows that having a few servings of walnuts in the diet lowers LDL cholesterol up to 16% and diastolic blood pressure by 2–3 mm Hg.
Beans contain starch which resists digestion. In the gut, it is fermented by the useful bacteria.
According to research, resistant starch reduces cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood and improves heart health.
7. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is a rich source of antioxidants such as flavonoids, which helps in boosting heart health. It is believed that dark chocolate has protective advantages against atherosclerosis.
Dark chocolate prevents white blood cell adhesion and stiffness of the arteries, which are two of the mechanisms involved in atherosclerosis.
Coffee is “almost too good to be true” thing. Research shows that drinking coffee regularly can reduce the risk of stroke and heart failure.
Graf says that “If you enjoy drinking coffee, then continue it.” He further adds that “If not, then there is no reason to begin.”
One important thing to keep in mind is that because of the ancestral variant, some people break down caffeine very slowly and this can have a negative impact on heart health.
9. Green tea
Green tea is associated with plenty of health benefits. It enhances insulin sensitivity and increases fat burning. A study done in 2013 found that there is a 20% reduced risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease in people who drank around four cups of green tea every day.
Green tea has catechins and polyphenols, which serve as antioxidants to reduce inflammation, prevent cell damage, and protects heart health.
Tomatoes are high in potassium which is good for healthy heart. They are a great source of the lycopene which helps in reducing the risk of heart attack by lowering the levels of LDL cholesterol and prevents blood vessel blockage.
Tomatoes are low in sugar and calories, that is why they are excellent for the body in many ways.
These are some of the foods for healthy heart and including these foods as part of a nutritious diet can help in keeping the heart in a good shape by minimizing the risk of heart disease.