Heart disease is the number one killer of people around the world. There are many steps you can take to prevent this and one of them is a diet change. Here are 10 foods that are known for their healthy properties to strengthen your body and your heart!
- OATMEAL: Whole grains are an important source of fiber to have in your diet, especially since they play a role in regulating blood sugar and should be the better choice over refined grains. Oatmeal is an easy and delicious way to incorporate whole grains into your diet. It is also a soluble fiber which sits in the digestive system to absorb cholesterol rather than it being absorbed into the bloodstream, reducing plaque buildup.
- GARLIC: While eating garlic raw may not seem appetizing, adding garlic to dishes, taking garlic capsules, or taking a garlic extract can benefit your heart health. Garlic contains an enzyme called angiotensin that works to slow the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
- DARK CHOCOLATE: Yes, chocolate is good for you! Minimally processed cocoa products can contain flavanols, which can help flexibility within the blood vessels and can reduce the risk of non-fatal heart attacks. A few pieces each day as a treat can improve your mood and your heart health!
- KALE: Kale is known as a “superfood” and contains a plethora of essential vitamins and nutrients that help you stay healthy. In regards to heart health, Kale has compounds that create protective coatings on your arteries, fighting plaque buildup. Chow down on this crunchy green miracle food!
- SALMON: Salmon and other fish, are full of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to decrease triglycerides. Incorporating fish into your diet at least twice a week can help reduce your risk of heart disease.
- SOY: Soy can be a healthy substitute to proteins that are high in saturated fats. They contain polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals which are good for your overall health. They can help to reduce bad cholesterol and improve your heart health.
- GRAPEFRUIT: Grapefruit and other citrus fruits such as oranges, can help fight free radicals with their potent antioxidants. They also contain high quantities of potassium which works to lower blood pressure. While juice is helpful, the best way to make sure you are getting the full benefits is by getting a lot of the pulp.
- TOMATOES: Tomatoes are another weapon in the fight against free radicals. They contain lycopene, an antioxidant that also works to lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure.
- LEGUMES: Legumes are a great source of protein. There are many ways to use lentils, peas, and beans in place of meat to help lower your saturated fat intake. Good fats and proteins are essential to a healthy diet, so using legumes can help lower your blood sugar and reduce your risk of heart disease, especially with those who have chronic diseases such as diabetes.
- OLIVE OIL: While not good for you in large quantities, this source of monounsaturated fat can be a great substitute for saturated fats. Use this for cooking, salad dressings, and more! Combined with other foods on our healthy food list, Extra-virgin olive oil can work to help lower your cholesterol and blood sugar.
The most important way to improve your heart health is by eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly. Adding these foods into your diet or replacing high-fat or processed foods can make a world of difference. Start your journey to a healthy heart and reduce your risk of heart disease today!