Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women—and claims more lives than all forms of cancer combined. Having a cardiovascular disease can also take an emotional toll, affecting mood and overall quality of life. While weight control and regular exercise are critical for keeping your heart in shape—the food you eat is the key to a healthy heart. By adopting better eating habits, it’s possible to have lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease and high blood pressure, and take greater control over the quality and length of your life. No single food can make you magically healthy, so your overall dietary pattern is more important than specific foods. Instead of fried, processed food, packaged meals, and sugary snacks, a heart-healthy diet is built around “real,” natural food. Here are some of the best foods to eat for a healthy, happy heart:
Dinner’s served, and on the menu is seafood! Salmon in particular is full of good fats and omega-3 fatty acids, reducing your blood pressure and preventing clotting. Similar fish that also offer these benefits are tuna, sardines, rainbow trout, and mackerel.
The Physicians' Health Study examined more than 15,000 men without heart disease, and those who ate at least two-and-a-half servings of vegetables each day cut their risk of heart disease by about 25%, compared with those who didn't eat the veggies. Spinach and greens are good for lowering blood pressure, and it can help reduce the effects of sodium in the body.
Surprise! I bet you didn’t think this starchy root vegetable would make the list, but potatoes (all shapes, sorts, and sizes), have many nutritional benefits, particularly in the skin. Like berries, their skin is loaded with blood-pressure lowering antioxidants. They also have the added bonus of aiding satiety, which assistances with weight loss! Just don’t go grabbing bags of potato chips, or frying them in oil- this is how potatoes got their bad reputation. Search for healthy recipes
, and avoid fast food joints.
These little guys are all the rage and very trendy right now, but for good reason! One teaspoon packs a punch of health benefits, and helps reduce bad cholesterol and plaque buildup. These seeds are easy to sprinkle over breakfast foods, or to add to your favorite smoothie.
You can still enjoy a night out and have a happy heart! There is compound called resveratrol with antioxidant properties and it can be found in dark-skinned berries and grapes. Madirans and Cabernets typically contain large amounts of procyanidins, an antioxidant that helps reduce cholestrol and increases arterial health.
Cacao, the plant from which chocolate is made, is rich in flavanols, which can help lower your blood pressure and prevent blood clots. It also acts as an antioxidant, which can keep “bad” cholesterol from sticking to your artery walls. Choose dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa) to get more flavanols and less sugar, as sugar raises your risk of heart disease.
Almonds have been found to be particularly helpful at preventing the development of cardiovascular diseases. The fats profile of this tree nut, which is low in saturated fat and high in unsaturated fat, along with its nutrients and phytosterols, all work together to reduce the LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, otherwise known as the bad cholesterol, in the blood.
Oranges and citrus fruit love your heart! A source of pectin, citrus fruit’s are packed with a flavaonoid that lowers blood pressure and reduces artery inflammation. Citrus also contains hesperidin, a plant chemical that improves blood flow to the heart, and vitamin C, a potent protector against stroke.