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Protect Your Heart with These 10 Food: A Guide to Heart-Healthy Eating

Heart Healthy, Salmon

Heart disease is one of the most prevalent public health problems in the United States. It is the leading cause of death for both men and women, killing hundreds of thousands each year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people die from heart disease every 34 seconds. Additionally, medical services and other drugs cost hundreds of billions of dollars annually to treat cardiovascular disease. 

The likelihood of getting heart disease is influenced by a variety of lifestyle choices. Obesity, a lack of exercise, and an unhealthy diet are a few of these. Fortunately, altering one’s diet can help lower the risk of developing heart disease.

Heart Healthy

A diet rich in lean protein sources such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and chicken can help promote heart health. Below are 10 heart-healthy foods to add to your diet. : 

Dark Leafy Greens: 

When it comes to improving your health, adding dark, leafy greens to your diet should be at the top of your list. These nutrient-dense vegetables, which include spinach, kale, collard greens, and Swiss chard, are packed with beneficial compounds that can help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic health conditions.

Dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals which can potentially decrease the likelihood of heart disease.

Olive Oil: 

Olive oil is a beneficial source of fat that can aid in reducing inflammation and decreasing levels of cholesterol.

If you’re seeking a simple way to improve your heart health, look no further than olive oil. Erin Kenney, MS, RD, LDN, HCP, CPT, a registered dietitian and CEO of Nutrition Rewired, recommends incorporating this versatile oil into your diet to keep your ticker happy.

Kenney suggests that extra-virgin olive oil intake is linked to decreased chances of cardiovascular disease and mortality among individuals at high risk. This is due to the antioxidants, polyphenols, and vitamins present in olive oil, which provide a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

Read also: China’s Strong Manufacturing Performance Could Mitigate Global Downturn

Salmon: 

Fatty fish such as salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower triglycerides, reduce inflammation, and improve overall heart health.

Whole Grains: 

Whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals that can aid in lowering cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Grapes: 

Antioxidants found in grapes can aid in reducing inflammation and enhancing blood pressure, making grapes a beneficial source.

Avocados: 

Here’s some good news for guacamole lovers – adding more avocados to your diet may be good for your heart health. According to Amy Adams, RDN, LDN, avocados are high in monounsaturated fats, which can help to increase the clearance rate of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol in the body.

Avocados are abundant in monounsaturated fats and fiber that promote heart health by reducing cholesterol and the risk of heart disease, as stated by Amy Adams.

In a reseearch published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, overweight/obese individuals who consumed more avocados were able to significantly lower their LDL cholesterol levels compared to those who ate a low-fat or moderate-fat diet.

Berries: 

Blueberries, strawberries, and other berries are packed with antioxidants and can help to improve blood pressure and reduce inflammation.

Adding berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, to your diet may help improve your heart health, according to nutrition experts. Berries are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, which can lower oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. 

According to a study published in Nutrition Reviews in 2010, these mechanisms enhance vascular function, reduce blood pressure, combat free radical formation, and ultimately lower the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Blueberries, in particular, are a standout food when it comes to improving heart health, according to Kristi Ruth, RD, LDN of Carrotsandcookies.com. Blueberries are high in antioxidants, including anthocyanin, a flavonoid that has been shown to benefit heart health.

Beans: 

Beans are a good source of fiber and protein, and they can help to lower cholesterol and improve blood sugar control.

Beans are a nutritious and heart-healthy food that should be included in everyone’s diet. They are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that can help to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, inflammation, and promote digestive health. 

Per a study in the journal Nutrients, consuming beans can improve the risk of heart disease.

Beans are particularly high in soluble fiber, which acts as food for the beneficial gut bacteria and promotes a healthy gut flora, an essential factor in overall heart health. 

Additionally, plant sterols/stanols found in beans can help to reduce cholesterol by competing with cholesterol for absorption in the small intestine. According to a study, consuming 2-4 grams of plant sterols/stanols per day can result in a 10% decrease in cholesterol levels.

Read also: From Watermelon Jalapeño to Snow-White Coconut: 8 Margarita Recipes You Need to Try

Walnuts: 

Walnuts are packed with heart-healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants, and they can help to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Flaxseed: 

Flaxseed is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fiber, which have been shown to improve blood pressure levels and decrease inflammation.

National Wear Red Day, held in early February, aims to raise awareness of heart disease and encourage people to take steps to protect their heart health.  

The larger picture of lowering your risk of heart disease includes more than just including these healthy foods in your diet. Making heart-healthy lifestyle decisions, such as exercising frequently, controlling stress, and eating a balanced diet, can all help to promote heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Photo: Natural Health

Opinions expressed by The Meta Magazine contributors are their own.

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