Heart disease is a growing burden to society because its mortality and disability rate are high. In addition, costs for care and treatment of heart disease are also very expensive. Therefore, people are now focusing on how to prevent rather than treat heart disease. A healthy diet is considered as effective heart disease prevention, including the use of heart-healthy foods.
List Of Heart-Healthy Foods And Snacks To Eat
Heart is a very important part in our body. Unhealthy heart can lead to many heart related issues. Sedentary lifestyle along with fatty diet is one of the causes of cardiovascular disease. When absorbing a high amount of fat, your body can not excrete all, so the excess fat will cling to the walls of blood vessels causing congestion. Your heart also has to pulsate stronger to circulate blood throughout the body. Therefore, it is necessary to have a scientific diet and workout routine to excrete all the excess fat in the body, avoiding the risk of heart disease. Below is a list of 20 heart-healthy foods and snacks to eat every day that will help you protect your heart.
Many researchers have showed that people who drink in moderation have less risk of heart disease than those who abstain. Moderate drinking may protect your heart by raising HDL, the “good” cholesterol to reduce inflammation and prevent arterial plaque that can cause stroke and heart attack. Drinking in moderation also increases estrogen to protect your heart. This benefit is particularly helpful to postmenopausal women, who have high risk of heart disease because of the reduction of their estrogen levels.
2. Green Tea
In many studies of heart disease, scientists have found that you can halve the risk of heart attack if you drink 12 ounces or more of tea a day in comparison with non-tea drinkers. As reported in 2009, Japanese men significantly lowered their risk of developing gum disease because they drank a cup of green tea every day. The more tea you drink, the less risk of heart attack you have. The main key that makes green tea become one of heart-healthy foods is that green tea contains catechins. Catechins are the antioxidants which help to hamper your body’s inflammatory response to the bacteria causing gum disease. People with gum disease have double risk of suffering from heart problems.
3. Olive Oil
Olive oil contains 70% monounsaturated fatty acid that reduces the accumulation of LDL cholesterol in the blood. LDL cholesterol is the bad cholesterol that increases the risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease. Included in heart-healthy foods and snacks, olive oil contains nearly 40 different antioxidants that have the potential to reduce the impact of oxidation caused by LDL cholesterol. In addition, olive oil also helps increase HDL cholesterol, good cholesterol, reduces problems related to heart. Olive oil also contains polyphenols helping healthy cells. It also increases the elasticity of the arterial wall, against heart disease. Olive oil helps reduce inflammation and repair damaged arterial walls due to the ability of filtering out the amino acid Cysteine.
The study of Italian scientists published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that women who eat more olive oil and vegetables reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease. The study shows that women who eat at least 3 spoons of olive oil per day were reduced 40% of the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Referring to popcorn, you maybe will only relate to the boredom and obesity but not know that popcorn is one of the best heart-healthy foods and snacks for you. According to a recent study by the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, United States, with the same weight, popcorn without covered by butter, sugar or salt contains three times more polyphenols than kidney beans, which is considered as the highest vegetable polyphenol source; and four times more than cranberries, the best polyphenol-rich fruit. Polyphenols are the antioxidants known to be effective in reducing the risk of certain types of heart-related diseases. The scientists also discovered that the bark of popcorn, often hated for sticking to teeth, has the highest polyphenol concentration and fiber. Moreover, popcorn is a whole grain that helps people tend to be leaner and have a lower risk of heart disease when eating plenty of whole grains.
Oranges contain soluble fiber pectin that blocks the absorption of cholesterol in food. Moreover, the potassium in oranges helps you keep blood pressure under control by counterbalancing salt. New research shows that citrus pectin helps to neutralize galectin-3, a protein that causes scarring of heart tissue, leading to congestive heart failure. Drinking 200 ml of orange juice a day can add a sufficient amount of vitamin C needed for the body and provide flavanoid that enhances the immune system, protects cells and strengthens the cardiovascular system.
One banana has 422 mg translated to about 12 percent of your recommended daily potassiumdose. The potassium in bananas helps you maintain normal heart function and balance sodium and water in your body. Potassium helps contribute to healthy blood pressure by improving the ability to excrete excess sodium of the kidneys. In particular, fiber in green banana helps to lower cholesterol markedly.
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To improve your cardiovascular health, incorporate pomegranates into your diet. These heart-healthy foods will help you lower blood pressure and protect your heart stronger. Pomegranates are proven to reduce the buildup of arterial plaque by burning and producing nitric oxide to improve blood flow in arteries. That is because pomegranates are the great sources of polyphenols, including anthocyanins and tannins.
Berries including blueberries, raspberries strawberries and other berries are full of anti-inflammatory, which reduces your risk of heart disease and cancer. Berries contain high levels of flavonoids, including anthocyanins that work to dilate blood vessels, prevent the formation of plaque and provide many other benefits for your heart.
One of the amazing health benefits of these heart-healthy foods is cholesterol-lowering properties. A recent study showed that berries contain a compound that acts as cholesterol-lowering drugs without side effects. Berries work to keep cholesterol under permissible levels, so that they help to improve cardiovascular health. The presence of antioxidants and fiber in berries make them become the great heart-healthy foods, protecting your heart health.
A new study of U.S. scientists shows that eating one or two apples a day can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The study conducted on a group of women who eat an apple per day showed that total cholesterol levels decreased by about 14%, of which LDL is reduced by about 23%. In particular, lipid hydro peroxide levels, a substance related to the formation of plaques that clog blood vessels, have fallen nearly 35% when compared between the start and end of the study.
According to scientists, apples are rich in soluble fiber called pectin, which helps prevent the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine and promote the use of cholesterol of organs in your body instead of agglomerating in the tissues. In addition, apple peel also contains polyphenols that help cells resist the attack of free radicals.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away!”
Read more: health benefits of apple
Avocado is one of the best heart-healthy foods and snacks to eat because it contains the most nutrients with nearly 20 essential vitamins and minerals, fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin C, potassium and is a good source of iron, fiber and beta carotene. Especially avocados are rich in folic acid, which helps protect your heart. Eating avocados helps lower the amount of LDL cholesterol while raising HDL levels in your body, preventing heart disease and stroke.
Tomatoes are the excellent sources of lycopene, which works with other minerals and vitamins to aid in heart disease prevention. Tomatoes are also rich in vitamin C, plus vitamin A, fiber and potassium. With their nutrients, tomatoes are proven to help prevent cardiovascular disease. Although cooking lessen vitamin C in tomatoes, the health benefits of this heart-healthy foods may be increased because lycopene is more available in cooked tomatoes and their antioxidant properties is undiminished by cooking
12. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate with 70% of cocoa solids is discovered to have a blood-thinning effect, which can benefit heart health and improves your immune system by reducing inflammation. The Kuna Indians of the San Blas islands have enviable level of blood pressure and they are unlikely to develop hypertension as they age. The reason is that they drink plenty of minimally processed cocoa, which is rich in flavanols that help improve blood vessel flexibility. In addition, cocoa contains a compound called epicatechin that boosts nitric oxide, a crucial substance to keep your blood vessels healthy. Eating flavanol-rich dark chocolate in moderation maintains youthful blood vessels, lowering the risk of high blood pressure, kidney disease, type 2 diabetes and dementia.
Walnuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios, hazelnuts and peanuts are among heart-healthy foods and snacks. Nuts are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals and low levels of saturated fats that lower the incidence of heart disease. Nuts also contain fiber, which helps to reduce cholesterol in the blood.
Soybean with low saturated fat is a good source of lean protein in a heart-healthy diet. Soybeans have more protein than meat, more calcium than milk, and more lecithin than eggs. You can find the essential amino acids that the body cannot produce in soybeans.
The study results showed that eating soybeans will decreases cholesterol by 12%. Eating soybeans is not only good for your heart, prevent cancer but also reduce kidney stones…
Many studies showed that if you consume two or more servings of fish per 7 days, you can lower the risk of heart disease by up to one-third over the long term. Fishes such as tuna and salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acid, which helps lower triglyceride levels in your blood, preventing blood clots. Omega-3s also help you lower blood pressure and prevent irregular heart rhythms. Salmon is the richest omega-3 fatty acids source that reduces blood pressure effectively. Salmon also contains a very powerful antioxidant called carotenoid astaxanthin.
If you don’t want to eat salmon, you can choose other oily fishes like tuna, herring, mackerel and sardines to get the same boost for your heart.
16. Whole Grains
Whole grains are among the most effective heart-healthy foods and snacks that eating plenty of them helps you lower the risk of heart disease. Whole grains are rich in antioxidants, phytosterols and phytoestrogens that are protective against heart disease.
In addition, the fiber in whole grains is linked with a lower risk of heart disease. According to a Harvard study of female health professionals, fiber can help lower LDL that eating a high-fiber diet lowers the risk of heart disease by 40% in comparison with those who do not eat.
Another kind of heart-healthy foods and snacks that I want to share on our site is spinach. Spinach contains carotene that helps prevent cholesterol from clumping in the arteries. With full of lutein, potassium, folate, and fiber, spinach helps you keep your blood pressure under control.
Garlic is one of the best heart-healthy foods because it contains allicin, which breaks down sulfur compounds, causing breath odor. These compounds react with red blood cells and produce hydrogen sulphide that relaxes blood vessels and help the blood flow more easily.
Although hydrogen sulfide causes rotten egg odor, a small amount of it in blood plays an important role in helping cells communicate with each other. In the bloodstream, hydrogen sulfide stimulates the cells to relax, making the blood vessels dilated. This will lowers blood pressure, helps the blood carry more oxygen to the vital organs and reduces pressure on the heart.
Head researcher David Kraus said that it is very good to have garlic in your diet. In areas where people eat a lot of garlic, such as the Mediterranean and the Near East, the proportion of people with cardiovascular disease is low.
However, experts warned that eating too much garlic can thin your blood vessels by reacting with medications, causing bleeding risk.
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19. Grapes And Raisins
There are many studies focused on the impact of grapes on heart disease prevention and treatment. Grapes are proven to combat a type of bacteria causing inflammation and gum disease. This is because of its antioxidants called polyphenols that avoid oxidized cholesterol accumulation. Resveratrol, a polyphenol found in grapes, helps prevent against the arterial wall damage. Moreover, grapes also contain another nutritional supplement named pterostilbene. According to researchers, this compound reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels by promoting enzyme to flow fat in the blood.
In addition, grape skins are rich in saponin, an anti-inflammatory compound.
Drinking grape juice, you also get other antioxidants called alpha-tocopherol that enhances antioxidant activity in the blood to about 50%. So that grapes are good for people with heart disease.
Yogurt is proven to help reduce obesity, lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of digestive system cancers, and good for your heart. According to some U.S. researches, people with balanced calcium and potassium diet will be prevented from high blood pressure. These agents are contained a lot in yogurt.
Eating yogurt daily in the breakfast or dessert instead of cake, jam… after meals helps you improve your digestion and boost your immunity.
All of the above 20 foods in the list of heart-healthy foods and snacks to eat are very delicious and really good for heart as well as your overall health. With my personal experience and study for a long time in this field, I am glad to share them with anyone who desires to find out heart-healthy foods and snacks to get a healthy heart without using drugs.
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