Nutrition

20 Best Foods for Your Heart

Evidence Based Article ๐Ÿ“„
This article has been based on relevant and up-to-date scientific studies. Our writers are unbiased and objective and present the facts as they are known. Numbers in brackets within the article refer to sources included in the reference list at the end of the article.

Heart disease is one the leading causes of death worldwide.

With daily stresses, busy lifestyles, and wrong nutrition, more and more people are at risk of cardiovascular diseases.

While itโ€™s important to manage your stress levels, itโ€™s even more critical to pay attention to what youโ€™re putting in your body on a daily basis.

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The meal choices you make can either positively or negatively affect your heart health, so make sure your diet consists of the following foods:

1.Avocado

Avocados are highly nutritious and theyโ€™re loaded with heart-healthy fats. The monounsaturated fats found in avocado have been proven to ward off the risk factors for heart disease, including cholesterol.

With about 20 essential vitamins and minerals, avocado also contains a host of powerful antioxidants, which play a key role in protecting your heart. Apart from heart boosting benefits, eating avocados regularly helps to lower cancer risk.

Blend into guacamole, mix one avocado with hard-boiled eggs and tomatoes for a high protein salad, or enjoy it in your green smoothie.

Read More:ย Avocado – 15 Powerful Health Benefits

2.Pomegranates

One of the healthiest fruits on earth, pomegranates reduces the risk of all types of diseases, including heart disease.

The heart-promoting antioxidants found in pomegranates, such as anthocyanins and polyphenols, help to prevent hardening of the arteries.

The research conducted by the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, California, showed that drinking pomegranate juice each day for at least 3 months can significantly improve the blood circulation to the heart.

Additionally, pomegranates boast anti-tumor and anti-viral properties and are chock-full of vitamins, including vitamins A, C, E, and folic acid. Aim to eat at least 2 pomegranates a week to contribute to your heart health.

3.Flax and chia seeds

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, flax and chia seeds are great for your cardiovascular health as well.

Omega-3s in these seeds work to protect your heart by reducing bad cholesterol, regulating blood pressure, and fighting inflammation. Chronic inflammation can negatively affect the blood vessels, leading to heart disease.

By consuming chia and flax seeds youโ€™ll protect and boost your heart health at the same time.

4.Coffee

Despite all the debates about coffee, this popular beverage has been scientifically proven to improve heart health.

A group of researchers demonstrated how drinking a few cups of coffee can benefit your heart. The compounds found in coffee helps to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by 10 to 15% in both men and women.

Another study states that consuming at least 2 cups of freshly brewed coffee each day could reduce the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease by 30%.

But itโ€™s important not to forget about moderation. Too much caffeine can lead to horrible side effects, including heart problems, insomnia, and digestive issues.

5.Greens

Green vegetables contain nutrients and antioxidants that promote your overall well-being, including your heart health.

Kale, spinach, and broccoli are, in particular, rich in carotenoids that serve as antioxidants and help your body get rid of harmful compounds, including toxins. Green veggies are also high in fiber, which aids in controlling cholesterol and blood pressure.

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High levels of bad cholesterol and blood pressure have been linked to stroke and cardiovascular diseases. Whether you have a glass of green smoothie or a bowl of green salad, you can be sure that your heart will thank you down the road.

6.Green tea and matcha

Matcha contains about 137 times more powerful antioxidants than regular green tea. It helps to reduce โ€œbadโ€ LDL cholesterol and its oxidation.

When combined with healthy eating, matcha can drastically lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and most types of cancer.

If you canโ€™t afford or find matcha, green tea can do a similar trick. Even though it contains fewer antioxidants than matcha, it still has some that can contribute to your heart health. Choose organic brands and aim to drink at least 2 cups of green tea a day.

7.Olive oil

Olive oil, especially an extra virgin variety, has been shown to ward off heart attack and stroke.

Extra virgin olive oil is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, which are known to aid in reducing both blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Black and green olives themselves are high in healthy fats, so if you can tolerate their taste, add them to your salads, stir-fries, or eat them whole. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to lower the risk of heart attack by 30%.

Read More: 12 Amazing Health Benefits of Olive Oil

8.Legumes

Legumes like peas, lentils, and all types of beans are over-brimming with quality plant-based protein and it means they do contain only healthy fats.

A study done by the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, showed that people who consumed legumes 4 times a week reduced their risk of heart disease by 22% in comparison with those who ate them once a week or didnโ€™t eat legumes at all.

Apart from keeping your heart healthy, legumes help to keep blood sugar at bay in people with type 2 diabetes. Regulating the blood sugar levels is crucial for helping people with diabetes avoid any complications. Heart disease is one of the most dangerous complications.

9.Nuts

From walnuts, peanuts, and almonds to macadamia nuts and pistachios, any nuts your family budget can afford will help you boost your heart health. Nuts are plentiful in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, fiber, and other nutrients and compounds that promote your well-being.

One way that eating nuts helps heart health is by decreasing the low-density lipoprotein, or “bad” cholesterol level. When the cholesterol level is increased, it triggers the development of the plaque that builds up in the arteries.

Over time, this plaque begins to harden and narrow the arteries. Plus, it triggers chronic inflammation, which is linked to cardiovascular disease. Eating nuts in moderation helps with cholesterol regulation, warding off the disease.

10.Tomato

Tomatoes are a great source of potassium that supports your heart function and lycopene, an antioxidant that lower the risk of heart attack. This carotenoid helps to keep the blood vessels open and alleviates “bad” cholesterol.

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Tomatoes are also considered as one of the most powerful anti-aging foods that prevent premature aging due to stress and environment.

An added bonus: tomatoes are chock full of vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium, vitamin B6, iron, and fiber. Consider using tomatoes in your meals on a daily basis if youโ€™re serious about keeping your heart young and healthy as longer as possible.

11.Potatoes

White potatoes have got a really bad reputation, but researchers claim that this vegetable is greatly underrated. In reality, healthily cooked potatoes can help you boost your heart health due to their high potassium content.

This aids in reducing high blood pressure linked to a stroke and heart attack. Moreover, one baked potato supplies the body with about a daily recommended intake of iron.

Sweet potatoes are good for the heart, too. Theyโ€™re high in magnesium, an essential mineral that plays an important role in promoting healthy arteries, muscle, bone, nerve function, and heart.

Most importantly, one sweet potato provides the body with 368% of daily value of vitamin A. This vitamin is known to be good for the eyes, but itโ€™s also essential for a proper heart function.

12.Soy products

Soy products have also a bad reputation but itโ€™s mainly because of the way the soybeans are grown.

If youโ€™re lucky to find organically grown soy and its products, be sure to include them in your weekly meal plan. High quality soy products, especially soy milk and tofu, are rich in protein and low in cholesterol and unhealthy fats.

Many soy products are fortified with healthy fats, fiber, and a host of nutrients. Regular consumption of the high quality soy products has been proven to manage blood pressure and reduce cholesterol โ€“ the two major culprits for cardiovascular diseases.

Related: 15 Most Awesome Edamame Health Benefits

13.Red wine

We all know that alcohol is bad for us, but a little bit of red wine can make a huge difference in how you feel. Unless you have any cardiovascular issues or conditions, a small amount of red wine several times a week will ward off heart diseases.

Sure, itโ€™s not a reason to indulge in alcohol, so be careful. Resveratrol, a polyphenol that makes red wine heart-healthy, can also be found in grapes or natural peanut butter.

14.Citrus fruits

A random research demonstrated how a consumption of citrus fruits could positively affect heart health.

Females who consumed a large amount of the flavonoids, which are abundantly found in grapefruits and oranges showed a reduced risk of ischemic stroke (mostly, caused by a clot) by 19% compared with women who didnโ€™t eat citrus fruits at all.

Citrus fruits contain the high levels of vitamin C that helps to fight chronic stress, fatigue, depression, and keep the heart disease risk as low as possible.

Stay away from store-bought citrus juices though, as theyโ€™re loaded with sugars and other additives that can wreak havoc on your heart. Donโ€™t forget that grapefruit can interfere with some medications, especially the cholesterol-lowering ones.

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15.Dark chocolate

With a wide range of chocolate available on the market these days, it seems people have forgotten about the ole dark chocolate.

Unlike other varieties, dark chocolate is an astonishing source of polyphenols, flavonoids that help to treat chronic inflammation, prevent clotting, and reduce blood pressure. One 2012 study discovered that people who ate dark chocolate on a daily basis could lower the risk of nonfatal stroke and heart attacks.

Dark chocolate can also help to handle the frequent mood swings that cause a lot of stress and can lead to anxiety disorders and cardiovascular issues.

16.Berries

Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and other berries are overflowing with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which help to ward off a lot of diseases.

Blueberries, for instance, contain flavonoids and anthocyanins, the compounds that can dilate the blood vessels and reduce high blood pressure. Regardless of which berries you love, combine them with another heart-healthy food called oatmeal.

17.Oatmeal

Okay, oatmeal is literally everywhere and many dieters are sick and tired of hearing about its benefits, but letโ€™s focus on your heart health, not your taste buds.

Oatmeal is a wonderful source of soluble fiber, which has been proven to decrease โ€œbadโ€ cholesterol. Oatmeal acts as a huge sponge in your digestive tract, soaking up the cholesterol.

Regular consumption of oatmeal will help you eliminate the cholesterol from your body, preventing it from absorbing into your bloodstream.

Stay away from instant oatmeal varieties though, as they contain little to no health benefits at all. The old whole oats are longer to cook, but itโ€™s worth the time.

18.Fish

Fish, like salmon, mackerel, and sardines contains a whopping amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which take part in decreasing triglycerides, preventing plaque buildup in the arteries (atherosclerosis), and warding off irregular heart beat (arrhythmia).

Donโ€™t overdo it, however. You donโ€™t have to eat fish each day. According to the American Heart Association, itโ€™s best to consume fish once or twice a week for better heart health.

19.Red bell peppers

Bell peppers make a quick and healthy snack to have with hummus. But red bell peppers are the superstar among all the types.

Unlike green or yellow bell peppers, red ones are rich in lycopene, a potent heart health promoting antioxidant and a well-known cancer-preventative phytonutrient.

Red bell peppers are also high in cholesterol-reducing soluble fiber as well as vitamins A and C, which improve the cardiovascular system.

20.Carrots

The British Journal of Nutrition claims that a regular consumption of deep-orange-colored fruit and veggies โ€“ like carrots โ€“ helps to decrease the risk of coronary heart disease.

Thatโ€™s because of the high beta carotene content, which maintains your heart health and alleviates tons of illnesses and diseases.

Read More: 10 Most Powerful Carrot Health Benefits

As you can see, what youโ€™re putting in your body plays a critical role in your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Of course, there are many other factors that lead to heart attack, yet eating healthy foods is vital.

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