Top Heart-Healthy Foods

Posted by Bianca Doran on February 19, 2016

Top Heart-Healthy Foods

Although we have come a long way in our research for heart health, cardiovascular disease is still the number one killer of Americans. Fortunately, this number has dropped in recent years as people learn how to prevent developing heart disease, which includes both strokes and heart attacks.  Learning healthy habits early can prevent serious health implications and may even save your life.

We constantly hear about foods that can jumpstart our health, but what is it about these foods that make them crucial for heart health? The vitamins and minerals in these foods help support our heart health and lower risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. Let’s take a look at these top heart-healthy foods:

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids 

These types of fats can actually lower the risk of irregular heartbeats as well as artery plaque, otherwise known as atherosclerosis. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish with omega-3s at least twice a week. Some examples of these fish are salmon, sardines and mackerel. Other healthy fats, such as monounsaturated fats, can also help reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Olive oil and avocados are a great source of these healthy fats.

Oats

Oatmeal contains soluble fiber that can actually lower cholesterol. High cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for developing heart disease. However, it is important to choose the right oats. Avoid instant oatmeal that is usually packed with sugar and opt for the old-fashioned oats. Whole grain foods are also beneficial as long as they contain the entire grain, and other foods that are high in fiber and other nutrients are almonds, walnuts and pistachios and chia seeds.

Antioxidants 

These powerhouses help decrease blood pressure and are extremely beneficial to heart health. Some examples of the foods that contain antioxidants are blueberries, strawberries and pomegranates. It is also not surprising to find antioxidants in our leafy greens such as kale, spinach and broccoli.

Polyphenols

These micronutrients maybe responsible for controlling blood pressure, clotting and even inflammation. Fortunately for us, chocolate is a great source of polyphenols. But hold it! Before you grab your next candy bar, know that not all chocolates are made equal. The chocolate that can help with heart health is found in dark chocolate only. Polyphenols can also be found in red wine.

Coffee 

This is great news for all the coffee lovers out there! Past studies have found that the consumption of caffeine can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by 10 to 15%. Another caffeinated drink that may have heart health benefits is green tea, which is known for being packed with antioxidants.

Other foods packed with beneficial nutrients are citrus fruits, legumes and soy. Learning the importance of our food and beverage consumption is essential to living a healthy lifestyle. Even with new research emerging, staying active with a healthy diet has always been a recipe for good health.


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