Do you take care of your heart health?
In past few years, many health issues are arising due to neglecting our cardiovascular health. Due to rising problem, many other issues make things tougher.
The risk of stroke, heart attack, hypertension or even blood pressure makes the things worse. You might not have the energy level that you always wanted.
With the degradation of the cardiovascular system, many other health problems also arise.
Heart diseases are known as a lifestyle issue. In past few years, our lifestyle has completely changed that is the cause of many of the issues.
We prefer foods that are loaded with calories and fats. We neglect foods that are required for a healthy lifestyle which has worsened the case.
Also, our physical activity has also declined that helped to burn excess calorie and to keep the cardiovascular system at optimum health.
If you are neglecting healthy diet and physical activity, then you are at high risk of heart disease.
Is your heart health is good? Or do you want to it make it more healthy?
Do you feel an early sign of degradation of cardiovascular health?
If not then it’s good news, but you need to take care so that in future there is no issue.
A healthy diet and few minutes physical activity of you choice can do good for you.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. 17.3 million people die every year which is expected to rise more than 23.6 million by 2030. (1, 2, 3)
About 2150 Americans die every day, i.e. one every 40 seconds.
Heart disease is No. 1 cause of death in America
About 5.1 million people die in the United States every year.
Due to change in lifestyle, health started degrading that later leads to heart diseases.
Coronary heart disease is a type of heart disease that is responsible for killing nearly 380,000 people annually.
It is No. 1 killer in women and reason for more than all type of cancer combined.
1 in 31 women die due to breast cancer, but 1 in 3 women die due to heart disease.
Heart diseases are one of disease that is affecting many of people worldwide.
The statistics above are horrible, but they are facts. We can’t neglect as these are the present situation of heart disease. Heart diseases like heart attack, stroke, hypertension and blood pressure change are ruining our life.
To get perfect health, you don’t need to a big change all at sudden. Everyday simple steps can also lead you to a healthy life. You can get all the things that you missed within few month of dedication.
With the slow but steady process, you will fell more energetic. Symptoms of an early cardiovascular issue will also fade away.
Your health is entirely dependent on what you eat. As a thumb rule, diet is responsible for 80% of your health after that comes 20% exercise or fitness activity.
There is far much more emphasis on healthy eating, and there are many reasons behind it.
To burn calories in a burger, you need to do 30-40 min jogging. That’s a lot of effort for a burger.
A healthy food provides varieties of nutrients that are required for the various process and their smooth functionality. With better absorption, metabolism, cell development and detoxification body perform at its optimum level.
All these processes are vital for a healthy body. Disturbance in any process would lead to severe health issues.
Foods are of many types. We get bored of eating a single kind of food, so nature has provided us with multiple varieties. Fruits, vegetables, cereals, poultry, dairy products, etc. are the best foods for us.
Each of food type has its specialty and nutrient composition. So we will explore all the types and know their benefits to our cardiovascular health.
Staying healthy is not easy, but it isn’t that tough. You have to make the just right decision, and other things follow.
Fruits are most delicious foods and also rich in nutrients that are vital for the healthy body. For a healthy cardiovascular health, we need enough supply of nutrients that lowers blood pressure, keep the cholesterol level low and it helps to heal the cardiovascular system.
Cardiovascular diseases are not due to single reason. It is due to many of reason that we don’t bother. So we will explore the cause and why you should eat those fruits to stay healthy.
An Apple a day keeps the doctor away! You have heard many times.
But what about oranges?
An orange a day can even keep heart diseases away.
Antioxidants present in oranges make it highly beneficial to improve blood vessel function and lower the risk of heart disease, according to research reports. (4)
Antioxidant, hesperidin is a plant-based compound called a flavonoid that makes it unique.
Studies have found that these flavonoids protect the cells lining the blood vessels. The way it works are referred as endothelial function. (5)
Problems with these cells lead to the development of clogged arteries. Clogged arteries are the primary reason for heart attacks and strokes.
In a study, people with a risk of heart disease were provided with 500 ml of orange juice daily. Along with some were provided with hesperidin-fortified dummy drink with some calorie in it. (6)
The study concluded that people who drank hesperidin-fortified dummy juice or orange has better endothelial function and lower diastolic blood pressure.
Another reason, orange is beneficial due to its Vitamin C content. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that is responsible for protecting arteries and heart muscles damage from free radicals. (7)
Yes! Free radicals are also harming our cardiovascular system. To stay protected from it, we need a good supply of antioxidants and orange makes it available.
Potassium content is good in oranges that are essential in maintaining the healthy fluid level that is also the reason for heart attack or stroke. Calcium and magnesium are also found to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. (8)
Folate is another vital nutrient for a healthy heart. It is required to process the amino acid homocysteine in the body. When homocysteine is not broken down, it forms a pile in the blood vessels leads to heart attack even among people with low cholesterol level. (9)
Even the orange peel provides a good amount of pectin, a type of soluble fiber that lowers the bad cholesterol level.
If you are eating the whole orange, the white skin provides fiber binds the cholesterol in the blood and moves it to the gut, maintaining healthy cholesterol level. (10)
So there are many reasons you can enjoy orange in your breakfast or any time of the day.
Precaution: People with oxalate-stone should limit as orange contains oxalate.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. There are many reasons for this word. Eating apple protects from the heart attack, stroke, cancer and other health issues.
Studies by Journal of Functional Foods has stated that eating apple can slash the risk of heart disease by half. (11)
51 healthy people were recruited by The Ohio State University between the age of 40 and 60 and were split into three groups. (12, 13)
1st group: Ate an apple every day for 4 weeks
2nd group: Took supplements from apple every day.
3rd group: Provided with placebos.
Results: People eating apple shows lower blood oxidation of LDL or bad cholesterol in the blood by 40% compared to people taking placebos.
While people taking supplement has a lower level of cholesterol but not significant to people eating an apple.
A higher level of LDL leads to atherosclerosis, hardening of arteries that is responsible for heart attack or stroke.
Why Apple benefits our heart?
Many things make it beneficial.
The antioxidants present in apple lower the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Also, it is responsible for protecting arteries or cells damage from radicals. (14)
It is also an excellent source of phytonutrients that protects against inflammation, a major reason for atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.
Another, healthy nutrient that Apple provide is pectin. Pectin is soluble fiber present in apple skin is responsible for lowering down the bad cholesterol level and improving the good cholesterol. (15)
Tip: If you love apple juice then its good, but to get the maximum benefits you should prefer to eat the whole apple with its skin. Skin is the rich source of pectin that is essential for heart health.
Avocado is another fruit that is very popular. Everyone enjoy eating avocado due to its taste, but there is yet another reason you can prefer.
According to California Avocado Commission, a Hass avocado provides 22.5 g of fat; two third is monosaturated fat. Along with contains 20 different heart-friendly nutrients like fiber, B-vitamins, Vitamin E, folic acids potassium, etc required to balance the nutrient level. (18)
Benefits of Monosaturated fat is that it enables the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients.
2005 study found that eating avocado as salad improved the absorption of carotenoids antioxidants by four to five times. (19)
A study found that eating avocado diet results to 22% decrease in both LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, 17% in serum total cholesterol and 11# increase in good HDL cholesterol. (20)
With low sodium level and high potassium, it balances the sodium-potassium level for healthy blood pressure.
Along with its antioxidants and phytonutrients content, it provides total benefits for the heart by protecting from free radicals damage.
High blood pressure is the leading cause of heart attack of stroke or heart attack.
Punicic acid found in pomegranate was considered beneficial against heart disease.
51 people with high cholesterol and triglycerides were provided with 800 milligrams of pomegranate oil every day for 4 weeks. It was found to lower triglycerides and improve triglyceride-HDL level. (24).
Along with lower LDL cholesterol, oxidation reduced significantly that proved beneficial to decrease the risk of heart disease.
5. Red Grapes
Benefits that a grape provides: (25)
- reduce the risk of blood clots
- lower LDL or bad cholesterol
- reduce LDL oxidation
- enhance release of nitric acid from endothelial cells lining the blood vessel walls
- prevent the damage to blood vessels in your heart
- helps to maintain healthy blood pressure
Hormone melatonin found in grapes also act as antioxidants.
The antioxidant content of seeds and skin is higher compared that to the inner flesh. With a better supply of antioxidants, LDL oxidation significantly decreases. Also, it is responsible for the protection of cells or arteries damage caused due to free radicals.
The fiber content lowers the LDL that is also responsible for lower cholesterol level, also promotes healthy good cholesterol (HDL) level.
Resveratrol with high antioxidant and inflammatory property protects from hardening of nerves and arteries, reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Raspberries provide some of the essential nutrients that are required for the smooth flow of blood.
It has an anti-coagulant property that makes it a good blood-thinner. Along with, it is responsible to discourage the development of clots and also dissolves clot maintaining the fluidity of the blood. Salicylate content is the most effective blood thinning agent. (27)
Potassium is responsible for the optimum fluidity of blood and regular heartbeat. Healthy potassium level ensures optimum functions of nerves, arteries and heart muscles. (28)
Changes of arrhythmia also decreases with a healthy flow of blood.
Fiber is responsible for lower LDL cholesterol level.
Antioxidant, Vitamin C protect nerves and heart muscle from free radicals damage.
Anthocyanin present in raspberries has found to contribute to heart health.
In a study published in 2008 issue of “The Journal of Nutrition”, rats were fed on raspberries for eight weeks showed resistance to heart disease.
Strawberries are most popular among berries for its taste. Along with it has been found beneficial for heart health due to its high antioxidant content.
It is found to lower the 3 factors that are the reason for heart disease: high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high homocysteine levels.
Fiber: For an optimum heart health it is important to regulate the cholesterol level. For maintaining cholesterol level, fiber plays a key role. One cup of strawberries provides 2 g of fibers. Fiber absorbs and binds excess bad cholesterol in the blood and pass it to the gut.
Potassium: For a healthy blood pressure, potassium is required for balancing fluid. High sodium is also responsible for the increase in blood pressure. Potassium present in strawberry balance the sodium-potassium levels to keep blood pressure at a healthy level.
Folate: Homocysteine is an amino acid in the blood is responsible for risk of heart attacks and strokes. It is responsible for atherosclerosis (fat deposits in blood vessels) by damaging the inner lining of blood vessels and promotes blood clot.
Folate present in strawberries break down the clot of homocysteine and prevent further growth.
Flavonoids: It is also a good source of flavonoids known as anthocyanins and polyphenols are known as ellagic acids. They both provides protection from free radicals that are responsible for damage to cells.
In repeated studies it was found that eating a 1-2 cup of blueberries for a course of 1-2 months has shown to improve fat blood balance, reduction in total cholesterol level, lower triglycerides and increase in HDL “good” cholesterol. (29)
Antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin K and other nutrients provides protection from free radicals that are responsible for damage of LDL cholesterol resulting to clogging in blood vessels. Due to protection, it leads to healthy cells lining the blood vessels walls.
Studies done on men, women and even children has found to that daily consumption of blueberries reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressures. Member with high blood pressure was found to maintain healthy blood pressure. (30)
The beneficial composition that makes grapefruit healthy for the heart is flavanones. Daily consumption of grapefruit boosts the level of flavanones.
Flavanones is helpful to improve the structure blood vessels that in responsible for healthy blood flow towards the heart. (31)
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests that adding grapefruit enhances the health of blood vessels. Flexibility of blood vessels increases the free flow of blood that reduce pressure on the heart. (32)
Pectin is responsible for reducing the deposition of fat in arteries.
While studies have shown that Vitamin C content in fruit helps to strengthen the arteries. (33)
With a well-balanced combination of Flavanones, pectin and antioxidants blood vessels retains its elasticity for a free flow of blood directly boosting heart health.
10. Amla / Gooseberry
Amla is a boon among the berries with highest antioxidants activity. A tablespoon of amla will do many benefits.
Antioxidants are required for the protection of nerves damage from free radicals. It is also found to strengthen the heart muscles. (34)
Potassium plays a crucial role in strengthening the nervous system and balancing the fluid and electrolyte level. (35)
Amla has found to prevent development and progression of hypertension. Pectin has reported to decrease serum cholesterol levels. Tannins present in amla suppressed the production of peptide responsible for hardening of arteries.
After fruits, its vegetables that are helping us from decade to stay healthy. But in few years, we are neglecting it. We don’t include every type of vegetables or missing the healthiest one.
There are many veggies and varied taste that we can enjoy. They provide excellent taste to foods when used in right way. You can cook, roast or eat raw as a salad to enjoy its delicious taste as well nutrients.
Coming to heart benefits, we need vitamin, minerals, and fiber for perfect health. Veggies provide a lot amount of essential nutrients. So know the top vegetables that are proven to provide total benefits to heart health.
Asparagus is one the healthiest choice you can make for your heart. There are many reasons behind any heart diseases.
Asparagus turn to provide overall benefits to heart health. Many things are going on when we eat it.
Vitamin K is the vital nutrients for helping blood clot that is essential for healthy blood. A healthy blood will promote the healthy cardiovascular system. (36)
Another nutrient that is beneficial for healthy blood is Vitamin B and folate. Homocysteine is an amino acid that is found in blood but can be harmful when the level increases. It is one of the major reason for heart attack or stroke. Vitamin B and folate in asparagus regulates the homocysteine level to prevent such risk. (37)
Fiber content is another reason that makes any veggies healthy. They are responsible for healthy metabolism, detoxification and maintaining cholesterol level in blood. For healthy heart, it is important to include foods that contain fiber.
Along with the healthy amount of antioxidants and fiber, it neutralizes the free radicals and flushes the toxin out, preventing damage to nerves and arteries of the heart.
With the presence of copper, folate and iron healthy new red blood cells are produced promoting the healthy nervous system.
12. Garbanzo beans (Chickpeas)
Health organizations including American Diabetes Association, American Cancer Society, American Hear Association recommends legumes for optimizing the health. They provide nutrients required for smooth processing and also prevents any diseases.
From all the legumes, Chickpeas or Garbanzo beans is the focus of study for heart health.
3/4 cups of garbanzo beans can help to lower LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides in one month. One-third of fiber which is soluble fiber is held to be beneficial to support heart health.
Garbanzo beans have excellent combination Vitamin B, Vitamin C and other antioxidants that are found to protect the inner lining of the nerves cells and arteries.
It is not considered as a fatty food, but it provides polyunsaturated fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), from which Omega 3 are made.
While it provides other essential nutrients that are required for a healthy heart.
Soy is good food. It is loaded with isoflavones, fiber and protein but low in saturated fats. There are many products made with soy that is also considered healthy.
Studies have found that soy protein may reduce the risk of heart diseases by lowering the LDL bad cholesterol. (38)
Studies in Japan on 5000 men’s and women, found that people who ate more soy has lower cholesterol compared who don’t.
Eating 31 to 47 g of soy protein instead of meat reduce the cholesterol level by 9%.
Along with it contains fiber that also lower the cholesterol promoting overall heart health.
People with diabetes are at high risk of heart disease in future. But broccoli is the food that helps to prevent it.
Sulforaphane present in broccoli promotes the production of enzymes that protect blood vessels from free radicals damage by 73 percent. The risk of heart diseases like the heart attack or stroke are five times higher in diabetic people due to these free radicals. (39)
It not only prevent damage but also helps to reverse the damage.
You can get the most benefits of broccoli by eating it raw or tender-crisp.
While fiber content lowers the bad cholesterol level lowering the oxidation in blood vessels which is the major reason for heart attack or stroke.
In 2008 study, it was found that broccoli has anti-inflammatory and detoxifying effects that makes it healthier.
There are many reasons to include spinach in your diet. It is a good source of heart health boosting nutrients like lutein, folate, potassium and fiber.
Studies on 15,000 men without heart disease has found to reduce the risk of heart disease by 25% in 12 years of research.
It was found that people eating spinach have a higher survival chance due to the heart attack.
Nitric acids in spinach are highly beneficial as it is proven to widen the arteries to improve the blood flow, reducing the risk or effect of the heart attack. (40)
Potassium helps to maintain fluid, balance blood pressure and electrolyte level while folate increase production of red blood cells.
Vitamin B6 and folate lowers the serum and homocysteine level providing extra protection.
Kale is one the kind that provides a wide range of benefits due to rich nutrient content. With an excellent source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Vitamin B6 it holds high antioxidant capacity.
With high antioxidant property, it provides protection from cell scavenging free radicals.
Along with, kale contains bile acid sequestrants which lower cholesterol level, that reduce the risk of heart disease over time. (41)
In one study it was found that consuming kale juice for 12 weeks reduced the LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol by 10% and increased the HDL ‘good’ cholesterol by 27%. (42).
Steamed kale is 43% efficient compared to cholestyramine, a cholesterol-lowering drug. (43).
Studies have published that 4,069 milligrams potassium lower the risk of cardiovascular and ischemic heart disease by 37% and 49%. (44)
Beets are a good source of healthy nutrients like fiber, folate, antioxidants that are beneficial for health. But the betalain is the most appreciated nutrient.
Betalain in beets has found to improve the health of the nervous system. It widens the walls of blood vessels for the smooth flow of blood. (45)
Nitrate found in beets get converted to nitric acids that are found to relax the blood vessels, improves blood flow and lower the blood pressure.
Along with an excellent dose of antioxidants and phytonutrients, it is found beneficial to provide protection from oxidative stress.
Tomato has been found highly beneficial for heart health. It can provide overall benefits when consumed in the right amount.
Lycopene in tomato provides the red color, practically has higher benefit for heart and its muscles.
Lycopene is an antioxidant, so it helps to prevent oxidation. LDL cholesterol in the blood is oxidised due to oxidative stress which form plaque in the blood, promotes heart disease. Eating tomatoes has found to reduce the oxidation and level of oxidized LDL. (46)
Inflammation is another risk factor for heart disease. Tomato consumption has found to reduce the markers of inflammation controlling inflammatory activity. (47)
Patients with high blood pressure or hypertension have shown lowering effect on both systolic and diastolic blood pressure after consuming tomatoes for 8 weeks.
It was also found to increase the chance of surviving heart attack increase due to the inclusion of tomato in the diet.
Stroke risk decreased by 65% in Finland studies due to consumption of high lycopene.
Red cabbage has potent anthocyanins that are responsible for controlling the inflammation, the primary reason for heart health issues.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has concluded that flavonoid-rich lower the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. A small amount of flavonoid can be beneficial to protect from cardiovascular disease. (48)
Polyphenol content in cabbage lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing the platelets build up and regulates healthy blood pressure.
Parsnip contains potassium that regulates healthy blood pressure and reduces stress on blood vessels.
With high folate content, it lowers the homocysteine levels in the blood and fiber lower the LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol.
Potato has a bad rap about being unhealthiest due to it fried foods like chips or french fries. But it’s not as unhealthy as stated. Fried chips can be said unhealthy, but potato can provide heart health boosting nutrients.
Fried chips can be said unhealthy, but potato can provide heart health boosting nutrients.
Vitamin B6 in potato helps to keep homocysteine level low that is responsible for the progression of atherosclerosis which leads to heart attack or stroke. (49)
It does not show a significant effect on triglyceride or HDL cholesterol.
Both fresh and dried garlic proved beneficial while the fresh one turn to be more beneficial.
A clove a day is required to get the benefit for your cardiovascular health. (53)
Considering a nutrient dense food for your heart health? You shouldn’t miss nuts in your snacks.
We prefer calorie or fat rich food during snacks time.
Nuts can become your best companion for snacks time and provide you with essential nutrients that are required to keep the heart healthy.
Since they are in dried form, their nutrients density is also high. So get their excellent flavor and also nutrients.
Walnut has a high concentration of healthy fat. 47% of walnut is composed of polyunsaturated fatty acids also known as healthy fat. Other nuts also contain a good amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids, but Walnut also contains alpha-linoleic acid. (54, 55, 56, 57)
In studies, it was found that a high amount of Alpha-linoleic acid is required to improve the artery function.
It was found that eating walnuts balance the cholesterol level. It provides a good amount of Omega 3 that lower the LDL cholesterol and improved the HDL cholesterol level, improves the function of small arteries and veins in the body.
A study found that eating 43 gram walnut lowered the total and LDL cholesterol level. The study also found that it also lowers the apolipoprotein B level, a genetic risk factor for coronary artery disease.
Considering healthy heart. You should prefer to snack on whole almond.
Almond is a rich source of nutrients that are healthy for the heart.
It is a rich source of monosaturated fat that is found to lower the LDL cholesterol level. Lower LDL cholesterol promotes the development of good cholesterol level. With better cholesterol level the significant risk of cardiovascular disease decreases.
Vitamin E found in almonds gives us antioxidants benefits. With high cholesterol level in the blood, damages to arteries and nerves increase due to free radicals. Free radicals also damage the cholesterol easily which is linked to atherosclerosis and heart disease. (62, 63)
Along with it contains 62 mg of magnesium plus 162 mg of potassium.
Magnesium is highly essential due to its natural property of calcium channel blocker. Calcium is required for contraction of muscles but in excess, it can increase the risk.
Magnesium also balances the calcium level and provides protection to heart muscles from free radicals.
Potassium is another essential nutrient that is involved in nerve transmission and contraction of muscles including the heart. With this, it maintains normal blood pressure and heart function.
The skin of almond is highly beneficial as it provide flavonoids that double the antioxidant property of Vitamin E.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating almond can reduce C-reactive protein, a marker of artery-damaging inflammation. (67)
Raisins are highly preferred nuts for increased blood pressure.
Data in American College of Cardiology’s 61st Annual Scientific Session suggest that consuming raisins 3 times a day can lower the mild increase in blood pressure.
Potassium in raisins lowers the blood pressure. It is found to reduce the risk of stroke, especially ischemic stroke. (68)
Almonds and walnuts were highly recommended for a healthy heart but in previous studies it was found that pistachios are also beneficial for heart health.
It was found that eating pistachios provide a good amount of antioxidants that provides protection from oxidative stress. It also prevents damage to LDL cholesterol. (69)
Along with it contains rich content of vitamin and mineral such as iron, selenium, and healthy fatty acids.
Healthy fat is responsible for lowering the LDL cholesterol level in blood.
Want to gain the benefits of costly nuts at a lower price?
Nuts like almond, walnuts, pecans, etc. are priced higher due to its rich source of nutrients. But peanut is quite different from them. It is a rich source of nutrients but low in cost.
Unsaturated fat is also known as a healthy fat as it lowers the bad cholesterol. (70)
Omega 3 is responsible for the normal function of muscles that keeps the good rhythm of heart, reducing the risk of heart attack. (71)
Fiber is responsible for reducing cholesterol level.
Vitamin E helps to stop the development of plaque in the arteries that narrows them. Plaque is responsible for chest pain, coronary artery diseases and heart attack.
Plant sterols are also found in peanuts that also lower the cholesterol level.
L-arginine is responsible to improve flexibility of blood vessels and arteries. Due to this, blood clot risk decreases that interfere healthy blood flow. (72)
With a lot of nutrients, you shouldn’t miss it.
Struggling to have healthy breakfast?
Or want to lower you cholesterol level for a healthy heart?
Oatmeal can be your perfect partner for both breakfasts and even for reducing the cholesterol level.
It is proven beneficial due to it’s high fiber, beta-glucan. In many studies, it was found beneficial to lower the cholesterol level boosting heart health.
Individual consuming 3 g of soluble oat fiber per day typically lowered the total cholesterol level by 8-23%. It had a significant result as, 1% drop in serum cholesterol reduce the risk of heart disease by 2%.
Oatmeal also provides a unique antioxidant known as avenanthramide’s that provide protection to LDL cholesterol from free radicals.
It was found that people enjoying oatmeal in the breakfast have shown 29% lower risk of heart disease.
Flaxseeds are healthy to its nutritional value.
Omega 3 present in flaxseeds is high that provide anti-inflammatory property and normalize the heartbeat.
Lignans found in flaxseed reduce atherosclerotic plaque buildup by up to 75%. – Fitzpatrick says.
30. Sunflower seed
Sunflower seeds prove highly beneficial for heart health due to its high antioxidant content.
It contains a high dose of antioxidant, 1/4 cup provides 80% of our daily required Vitamin E.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that makes sunflower a better choice due to its fat content. With a good supply of antioxidant and combination of fat, it proves highly benefical.
Do you enjoy eating fishes? It’s a great food loaded with ample amount of essential nutrients.
American Heart Association recommends eating fish twice a week. Fatty fish are highly recommended.
They provide a high amount of Omega 3 that are required for a healthy heart. Along with it provides other essential nutrients for a healthy cardiovascular system as well as maintaining a healthy body.
Fishes like salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, bluefish, pollock, shrimp and catfish are suggested.
32. Green Tea
Green tea is a drink that can be prefered for a healthy heart. Studies show that a cup of green tea can keep your heart healthy.
In a study, it was found that drinking a cup of green tea after 30 minutes, widens the artery running from shoulder to elbow by 4% reducing deposition of plaque. With the healthy flow of blood risk of heart attack of stroke decrease. (75)
33. Red Wine
Moderate drinking, especially red wine has turned out be beneficial for heart health.
Red wine has a perfect blend of heart-friendly antioxidants. It was found that consumption of red wine reduced the risk of heart disease by 32% while alcohol reduces the risk by 22%. (76)
According to French paradox, daily consumption of red wine but limited quantity provide benefits.
The antioxidant, Resveratrol provide protection from free radicals. It also increased the HDL (‘good’) cholesterol and significantly reduce the LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol.
A glass of wine a day can protect you from atherosclerosis and possible heart attack or stroke.
Precaution: We are supporting for drinking alcohol. But for healthy heart you can switch for red wine instead of other drink.
For heart health, coffee turns to beneficial due to its caffeine content.
Drinking coffee stimulated heart and blood vessels while lower the blood pressure. In a study, it was found that coffee drinkers were no more likely to develop hypertension or cardiovascular disease. (77)
It is also beneficial as it is found to stimulate the central nervous system. (78)
It also releases fatty acids from adipose (fatty) tissue
35. Dark Chocolate
And the last food on the list!
Loved by everyone and also by our heart.
Made from cocoa seeds is one of the tastiest and healthiest food that you can enjoy.
Eating dark chocolate can lower the risk of heart disease. It was found that cocoa powder can decrease oxidation of LDL cholesterol in men.
Dark chocolate has high antioxidants capacity that protects the LDL cholesterol from oxidation. (79)
In a study, it was also found that it also increases the HDL ‘good’ cholesterol. (80)
It can also reduce resistance to insulin, risk factor to heart disease and diabetes. (81, 82)
Flavanols in chocolate stimulate the endothelium, the inner lining to produce Nitric acid (NO). (83)
Nitric acids send signals to the arteries to relax it, which lowers the resistance to blood flow while reducing the blood pressure.
With the combination of small effects like improved blood flow, lower blood pressure, balanced healthy cholesterol and protection from oxidation, dark chocolate provides overall benefits.
The list of healthy food is quite long. With a long list of healthy food there is also a long list of unhealthy foods to get fit in any article. It is quite tough to name every food that you should avoid. But listing those nutrient that is harming is possible.
So know the most harmful nutrients that are harming us. While one nutrient is such that it is not bad but the way we consume makes it harmful.
1. Saturated fats
Saturated fat is the most harmful fat and also referred as ‘bad fat’. Eating saturated fat can increase the total cholesterol level which increases the risk factor for heart disease.
Nutrition experts recommend to limit the overall saturated fats intake should not be more than 10% calorie of the day.
Apart from healthy fat, saturated fats are not readily used as energy source. So they tend to get deposited quickly that improve risk to heart disease. (86)
Sources of saturated fats are beef, lamb, pork, dairy products, poultry skin, coconuts oil and palm oil.
2. Trans fat
Another unhealthy fat is Trans fat.
Hydrogenated oil is made from healthy vegetable oil. Hydrogenation of oil changes its chemical composition to make it unhealthy trans fat. (87)
French fries, chips and other fast foods are made from these hydrogenated oils that are loaded with trans fats. So it is recommended to limit the intake of these foods.
Research from the Harvard School of Public Health indicates that every 2% calories from trans fat increase the risk of heart disease by 23%.
And the last but the most harmful thing that is the reason for the spread of many diseases.
The risk may be minor to life threatening disease.
As we know, sugar is the primary source of energy. Then how can it be dangerous?
Sugar is not unhealthy but the way we take nutrients also depends.
Excess amount of any nutrients we don’t use are stored in body for further use. Excess amount of sugar that we consumed daily are stored in the form of fat in cells or in the blood.
Due to this factor, obesity risk rises which then leads to heart disease.
Excess sugar can make us a host of many life-threatening diseases.
Sugar acts like drugs, release dopamine that makes it highly addictive.
You can avoid many of disease if you know the right way to eat it.
1. Always eat a combination of foods. Include food rich in fiber along with food that contains sugar to avoid quick absorption of sugar. Fiber will slow down the digestion and will provide enough time to use sugar as energy.
2. Limit sugar loaded soft drink or low sugar drink as it can increase our crave to sugar.
Things Degrading Our Cardiovascular health
Many things are affecting our cardiovascular health. Our life is quite stressful in past few years.
Students has study stress, or working people has work stress. Stress is major thing that is affecting our daily routine that are leading to health disaster. Gaining a healthy body is not that tough but we need dedication and mindset. Know the common reason so that you can avoid it.
Smoking is the worst thing that many are addicted to. Oxidative stress is the primary reason to heart diseases due to increase in free radicals interference.
Smoking promotes oxidative stress in the body. Due to this clots in blood increases, increasing the risk of atherosclerosis, leading to heart attack or stroke.
2. Decline in physical activity
In past few years, our physical activity has declined increasing the risk of many of diseases. We are engaged in work and spend most of time on the couch.
Our physical the activity has declined, leading to decrease in consumption of calories which get stored.
So prefer to indulge in some of the physical activity that you like such as sports, gyms, trekking, etc
3. Unhealthy diet
Eating healthy is the most important task you can do for yourself. Our health depends on what we eat.
To burn calories in a burger, you have to run for 30-40 minutes.
That’s a lot of exercise for a burger. Yes! These foods contain a higher amount of calorie that we don’t need. So it is important to make a better choice.
Include varieties of foods, listed above to get enough nutrients that can protect you from any possible disease.
Never skip breakfast or meal. Eat at least, 4-5 times a day and with combination of foods. Adopt a healthy routine to cover up the health disaster that was done earlier.
Salty snacking is one of the reason for bad health. It promotes high blood pressure that increases the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Empty calorie is another risk factor. Foods high in sugar, fat and oil provides calorie but lack nutrients. Eating nutrient deficient foods do more harm.
Start you day with healthy breakfast and enjoy varieties of food to get optimum health.
That’s all you need for your complete heart health.
Making a complete change all of sudden is quite complicated task. It will take time but taking small actions daily will make it a habit. So take charge of your health.
Stay assured that eating healthy food will not only protect you from heart disease, but it will cut down other risk factors.
You will also like other detailed guides for health:
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