Best Heart Healthy Foods
12 Mar 2018
Best Heart Healthy Foods
A healthy diet is essential for maintaining a healthier heart. This can help to reduce your risk of developing coronary heart disease by eating the right foods; you are at less risk of developing conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. This article will outline the best heart healthy foods to include in your diet and offer useful advice as well as the foods you should avoid and advice on how to maintain a healthy heart.
- Red Onions
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Foods that increase your risk of heart disease
- Guidance for maintaining a healthy heart
Berries are a chock full of heart healthy phytonutrients and soluble fibre. Eating just under a cup of mixed berries daily for eight weeks may help to increase your levels of good HDL cholesterol and lowered blood pressure, two positives relating to heart health. Blueberries, strawberries and blackberries are brimming with heart-healthy antioxidants that help fight off free radicals and prevent disease. Berries also contain several nutrients that are essential to a healthy heart, including fibre, vitamin C and vitamin K. Try blueberries, strawberries, cranberries or raspberries, or blackberries. Enjoy them as is for a nutritious way to satisfy your sweet tooth, or eat them as a combination with cereals, yoghurts, smoothies, or even as a cup of mixed berries. This may help to significantly increase your good levels of HDL cholesterol and lower your blood pressure helping to reduce your risk of heart disease.
This cold water fish is a great source of protein and is also packed with heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Other good fish sources of omega-3 include sardines, mackerel, trout etc. They contain beneficial fats, which help stop clots, improve blood triglyceride levels (a type of fat in your blood) and boost circulation. It is recommended to consume 2-4 portions per week and it is recommended that the fish is either poached or grilled in order to preserve its nutrients. This can also be served as a healthy dish with a combination of salad.
Bursting with heart-friendly nutrients, avocados are definitely worth adding to your shopping list if you’re eager to maintain a healthier heart. The delicious salad favourite is a rich source of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that reduces cholesterol, as well as plant sterol called beta-sitosterol, which also keeps cholesterol levels in check. Avocados are also high in potassium, helping to lower high blood pressure and regulate the hearts rhythm.
Oranges contain zest which is rich in protective compounds like hesperidin, which helps to balance blood pressure and protects arteries. Another source of pectin, this citrus fruit is also packed with a flavonoid that lowers blood pressure and reduces artery inflammation. Citrus also contains hesperidin, a plant chemical that improves blood flow to the heart, vitamin C a potent protector against. It is best to include this citrus healthy fruit as part of your regular diet.
Well-known for their impressive nutrient profile and extensive health benefits, walnuts are one of the most powerful heart-healthy foods that you can incorporate into your diet. They also help to reduce bad cholesterol, and reduce high blood pressure. They may also help improve blood vessel function. Walnuts are also full of manganese, dietary fibre and copper, as well as plenty of heart heathy fats.
One banana has around 422 mg—about 12 percent of your recommended daily dose—of potassium. The potassium in bananas helps maintain normal heart function and the balance of sodium and water in the body. Potassium helps the kidneys excrete excess sodium, thereby contributing to healthy blood pressure. This mineral is especially important for people taking diuretics for heart disease, which combat sodium and water retention but also strip potassium from the body in the process.
Oats are packed with beta-glucans, a type of soluble fibre that absorbs artery blocking LDL (bad cholesterol), promoting cardiovascular health and lowering the risk of heart attack.
Red onions are rich in quercetin, which helps repair damage to blood vessels and improves blood flow.
Spinach is rich in vitamin B and plays an important role in managing homocysteine, an amino acid which promotes narrowing of the arteries.
Pumpkin seeds help to maintain healthy blood vessels and are a tasty top up to your calcium, magnesium and zinc intake.
Foods that increase your risk of heart disease
There are many different foods which can increase your risk of heart disease. The main ones such as processed foods, high levels of saturated fats, high sugar content, high salt content, have many unnatural ingredients which you should try to keep at a minimum level and avoid eating them as they are bad for your overall health and increase your risk of heart disease.
• Processed meats such as sausages, hot dogs burgers, ham, bacon etc.
• Salty foods
• Saturated Fats
• Fried foods
• If you do eat these foods, try and be conscious on how much you are consuming and try and keep these to a minimum.
Guidance for maintaining a healthy heart
• Stay hydrated
• Reduce stress