10 superfoods for a healthy heart
You might have heard that heart disease is a leading cause of death in our country. But did you know that it can be controlled and prevented to a large extent by merely making the right food choices? Growing research suggests that diet plays a crucial role in heart health. Many common foods are packed with nutrients that can boost heart health and lower your risk for various heart problems. So, you need to eat these superfoods regularly if you want a healthier heart.
Fatty fish are well-known superfoods for heart health. They are among the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of healthy fats that can help control high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats. They can also reduce your risk for stroke and heart failure. Some heart-healthy fatty fish include salmon, lake trout, sardines, anchovies, and herring. Experts recommend eating at least two servings of these fish every week.
Oats are a type of whole grain full of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber can not only boost your digestive health but also prevent your body from absorbing cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk for heart attacks and strokes. When selecting oats, it is best to prefer steel-cut oats as they contain no sodium, sugar, or preservatives. Plus, they take longer to digest and are less likely to raise blood sugar.
Chia seeds are an excellent alternative for those who don’t eat fish. The level of omega-3 fatty acids in them is impressively higher than most plant-based foods. Moreover, these tiny seeds are packed with heart-healthy antioxidants, soluble fiber, proteins, and minerals like iron, magnesium, and calcium. Consuming chia seeds will reduce your risk of abnormal heart rhythms and lower your triglyceride levels. High levels of triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood, are linked to an increased risk for heart disease.
Multiple studies have concluded that dark chocolate is a superfood for your heart. It is rich in flavonoids that can reduce inflammation and boost blood circulation. Dark chocolates that contain at least 60 to 70 percent cocoa are also known to reduce the risk for heart attacks and strokes. However, it would be best to consume dark chocolate in moderation as it is packed with calories.
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, acai berries, and other berries are loaded with flavonoids that can help reduce blood pressure and protect your blood vessels. Blueberries and strawberries, in particular, contain high amounts of a compound that can help widen the vessels that supply blood to your heart and prevent plaque buildup inside them. Experts advise eating different types of berries at least three times per week to reduce the risk for heart-related problems.
Black, white, navy, kidney, garbanzo, and pinto beans are among the richest plant-based protein sources. They also contain high levels of minerals, soluble fibers, and phytonutrients that can lower your bad cholesterol levels and blood pressure, making them superfoods for a healthier heart. Additionally, beans are inexpensive, easy to cook, and versatile. You can eat them alone or add them to soups, salads, or casserole dishes.
Dark leafy greens
Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, collard greens, and others are full of various nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are good for your heart and overall health. These veggies contain folate and vitamin K, which can help prevent heart disease, protect arteries, and encourage proper blood clotting. Moreover, leafy greens are high in nitrates, which can lower blood pressure and decrease arterial stiffness.
Avocados are full of monounsaturated fats. These are heart-healthy fats that can reduce cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease. Avocados are also rich in fiber, potassium, multiple vitamins, and even phytosterol, compounds that can reduce cholesterol absorption during digestion.
Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit are loaded with flavonoids known to lower the risk of stroke. They are also incredibly high in vitamin C, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Another reason to include citrus fruits in your diet is that they are rich in soluble fiber and potassium, both of which help reduce cholesterol and stabilize blood pressure.
Besides being an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts contain significant amounts of fiber and micronutrients like manganese, magnesium, and copper. Studies show that walnuts can help reduce bad cholesterol and also protect against heart disease. So, it’s crucial to include this superfood in your daily diet. You can also have other nuts like almonds and pistachios, as they offer healthy fats and are good for your heart.