Heart disease is the No. 1 killer on the planet.
A buildup of plaque in arteries narrow the arteries, thus blocking the flow of blood. Arteries are the blood vessels that deliver oxygen and nutrients from your heart to different tissues in the body. But the buildup of plaque can block the blood flow which can lead to heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.
Cleaning the plaque from arteries is difficult and require invasive treatment. The best solution is to prevent plaque buildup, and the most efficient solution, nutrient-dense foods.
It’s never too late to start a healthy eating routine. Eating a healthier diet not only prevent the buildup but also cleans it.
The amazing foods can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, lower the cholesterol, lower your blood pressure, neutralize free radicals, cool inflammation, etc. They are loaded with heart health-boosting nutrients so don’t miss them in your diet.
1. Nuts (Roasted Almond With Skin)
Nuts are the best snack to cut the craving and also to gain heart-healthy nutrients.
Roasted almonds, with the skins, is a heart-friendly snack. One handful of almonds packs a whopping 9g of monounsaturated fat to slash bad cholesterol and boost good cholesterol. Choosing almonds over cakes or chips for two snacks a day cut ‘bad’ cholesterol by nearly 5-10 percent. Antioxidant Vitamin E plus flavonoids in the nuts help to halt the development of artery-clogging plaque. While the fiber in skin absorbs cholesterol and eliminate them.
Among nuts, walnut is also rich in healthy fats and antioxidants. While you can also eat other nuts to get similar benefits like almond.
Snacking on nuts is a great habit as it can help to lower the intake of unhealthy snacks loaded with empty calories. But while snacking nuts, don’t overdo, or you’ll pile on the calories.
2. Fruits (Avocado)
Another food for your healthier arteries is fruit, especially avocado.
Fruits are a great source of fiber required to eliminate bad cholesterol. Along with it is a rich source of vitamin and minerals that lower blood pressure and prevent blood clots that can cause serious cardiovascular illness.
In a study, it was found eating an avocado a day for a week reduced total cholesterol of 17 percent. The high level of monounsaturated “good” fat helped to reduce the level of unhealthy LDL (22%) and triglycerides (22%) and boosted HDL level(11%). (1)
It also contains beta-sitosterol, cuts the cholesterol level by limiting the amount of cholesterol that is able to enter the body.
Avocados are can be a great replacement for mayo on a sandwich, or as a salad topping, or in smoothies.
Another great fruit is watermelon and pomegranate. Watermelon is a great source of amino acid L-citrulline, which boost nitric oxide production in the body. Pomegranate also stimulates the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps arteries to relax, decrease inflammation and can lower blood pressure.
3. Vegetables (Tomato)
Vegetables are a great source of fiber, vitamin, minerals and even healthy Omega 3 fatty acids. Among those, tomatoes are highly recommended for arteries health.
Tomatoes are a very rich source of vitamin A and C, folic acid and beta-carotene. They are also a rich source of an antioxidant lycopene and contains heart-friendly nutrient like potassium and fiber. (3)
Lycopene is known to be the best nutrient for arteries as it has protective properties. High lycopene consumption from tomato decreased oxidation of LDL which prevent the formation of plaques in the arteries. Consumption of tomato has shown to reduce some of the markers of inflammation improving inflammatory statues in overweight and obese people. Cooking tomato for 30 minutes or longer raises levels of available lycopene. Potassium and lycopene have a blood-pressure-lowering effect thus beneficial for arteries and protect from any potential heart attack. Add 15g of sun-dried tomato or choose for soup, it will prove beneficial for arteries health.
Broccoli is also loaded with antioxidants and fiber which proves healthy for arteries health. Broccoli is a versatile vegetable, it tastes greatly grilled, roasted or steamed.
Tip: Increase your vegetable intake, especially greens. Some of the other vegetables are beetroot, brussels sprouts, cabbage, aubergine, kale, spinach, to name a few. Increase your vegetable serving and you will receive the maximum nutrients for a healthy heart.
4. Fatty Fishes (Salmon)
Omega 3 fatty is the healthiest fat that helps to cut the risk of deadly out-of-rhythm heartbeats, reduce bad cholesterol, cool inflammation and discourage atherosclerosis and the formation of blood clots.
Choosing fishes over meat is the best option for a healthy heart as it cut the intake of saturated fat and increase the healthy unsaturated fat.
Salmon is a great source of Omega-3, it contains about 1.8g of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Prefer wild salmon over farmed salmon to get more Omega-3 fatty acid per serving.
Other fish rich in Omega 3 are lake trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, and tuna. You can eat fish two servings a week.
5. Whole Grains (Oatmeal)
The final food in the list yet not to be ignored in your diet, whole grains.
Whole grain is a great source of soluble fiber, which is responsible to lower bad cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Oatmeal is a recommend food and even considered as a superfood, which is loaded with a great number of nutrients. Among those nutrients it contains Betaglucan, a soluble fiber acts like a sponge, trapping cholesterol-rich bile acids in the intestine and eliminating. LDL “bad” cholesterol level reduce as there’s less cholesterol to be absorbed into the bloodstream. As per a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a bowl of oats (225 grams) can cut cholesterol by an extra 2 to 3 percent.
You can also include other whole grains like whole wheat, brown rice, wild rice, chia seeds, etc.