A heart healthy diet means eating healthy foods and staying away from overly processed and junk food. Of course, by “healthy” food, we really mean heart healthy food. They have vitamins and minerals to strengthen your heart – some can lower your blood pressure, others keep your cholesterol in check. So what heart healthy food items should you add to your shopping list? We’ve compiled twelve foods that can improve your cardiovascular health and fight off heart disease (and keep you looking young and beautiful).
Anything with whole grains is an excellent source of fiber and other vitamins and minerals that promote heart health. Fiber can lower risk of heart disease and may improve blood cholesterol levels.
We all know that yogurt has lots of calcium to promote strong, healthy bones. Now we know it’s extremely good for heart health, as well. According to a study done on yogurt consumers and non consumers, the people who ate yogurt had healthier blood pressure and cholesterol.
Add some avocado to a salad or eat avocado toast and enjoy the many benefits of this healthy fat. Besides that, avocados are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and dietary fiber to reduce your risk of heart disease and promote a healthy heart.
Dark Leafy Greens
A recent study was published regarding vitamin K levels and how it contributes to a healthy heart. The study examined insufficient levels of Vitamin K and how it leads to a condition known as ventricular hypertrophy (LVH). In LVH, the left ventricle (the heart’s major pumping chamber) is enlarged and that causes the heart to become less effective at pumping blood. Vitamin K-1 is found in most dark, leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, cabbage and broccoli. Vegetables are also one half of a plant-based diet, which can significantly reduce the chances of developing heart failure.
Nuts and Seeds
Here’s a nutritious healthy fat that’s also loaded with proteins, vitamins and minerals. Just like avocado, nuts and seeds provide monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that are among the healthier fats that prevent heart disease. You have a variety of nuts and seeds to choose from, but here are a few of the healthiest:
- Chia seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Pine nuts
- Brazil nuts
Fresh or Frozen Vegetables and Fruits
As most people know, fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals. They’re also extremely versatile and easy to prepare. You should stick to fresh or frozen vegetables, canned vegetables that are low in salt and canned fruit packed in juice or water.
Salmon and Fatty Fish
Omega-3 fatty acids and other fish oils are essential ingredients to promote a healthy heart. Most seafood contains some form of Omega-3 fatty acids, but these fish contain the most:
- Albacore tuna
First of all, we aren’t talking about milk chocolate here, but its pure dark sibling. Dark chocolate helps lower blood pressure, according to a study done at Texas Woman’s University. Dark chocolate can also lower your risk of developing cardio-metabolic disorders, a combination of dysfunctions that potentially lead to heart disease.
What people sometimes forget is that popcorn is a whole grain, which can lower your chances of getting heart diseases. Also, popcorn has an antioxidant called polyphenol, which has been known to improve heart health.