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The top 10 heart healthy foods

Do you want to keep your heart healthy? The best way to do this is by maintaining a healthy diet rich in low-fat foods. However, some foods can not be out of your diet. What are they?

There is scientific evidence indicating that 70% of cases of heart disease can be prevented by maintaining a healthy diet. Arthur Agatston, renowned cardiologist and founder of the South Beach diet, says about this: What’s good for the heart is good for the brain and suitable for general health.

But, I do not think you should focus your attention on the main meals. On the contrary, from breakfast to dinner, including snacks, can be heart-healthy if you put your mind. You only need to include certain foods, which ones?

Living longer with salmon, almonds, and spinach
No other food has been shown to have such a protective effect on the heart as salmon and other fatty fish. This is because they contain good fats: so-called omega-3 fatty acids. As a result, they prevent arteriosclerosis and its consequences, i.e., heart attacks and strokes. According to a Dutch study, two fish meals a week can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 30 percent. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in almonds, walnuts, and rapeseed and linseed oil.

The fact that spinach and other green leafy vegetables also strengthen the heart has only recently become known. Spinach, broccoli, and chard are rich in folic acid. This B vitamin also protects against atherosclerosis.

Dietary fiber from oatmeal and lentils protects the heart
Dietary fiber from cereals and legumes positively affects cholesterol levels and thus keeps the heart-healthy. Oats and lentils are particularly rich in healthy fiber.

In addition, antioxidants – protective plant substances found mainly in fruits and vegetables – are considered protective factors for the heart and blood vessels. Dark berry fruits such as blueberries, for example, contain flavonoids that intercept harmful substances in the body and thus protect against vascular calcification.

Therefore, a balanced diet with plant foods and fish is recommended to prevent cardiovascular disease. Meat and animal fats should only be eaten very rarely.

Four factors for a healthy heart
In addition to diet, other factors play a role in the heart. Recently, British scientists filtered out four elements that best protect the heart: Low cholesterol has a tremendous success, followed by not smoking. Then follows low blood pressure and a low blood sugar level. According to the researchers, those who avoid the four risk factors mentioned above from childhood onward reduce their risk of dying from a heart attack by about three-quarters.

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Non-smoking and exercise prevent early death
A study by American researchers also shows how important a healthy lifestyle is. Researchers at Harvard University studied around 80,000 women over several years; almost 9,000 died of cardiovascular disease after the study period. The researchers concluded that 28 percent of these deaths could be attributed to smoking alone and 55 percent to too little exercise. Obesity and a poor diet are also factors that play a role in early death. Around half of the premature deaths could have been prevented with a health-conscious lifestyle.


1) Oats

heart healthy oats

It is ideal to start the day with a tasty and nutritious bowl of oatmeal. It is rich in omega-three fatty acids, folic acid, and potassium. Moreover, it is a good source of fiber, beneficial to lower LDL cholesterol levels, and helps keep your arteries clear.

Oatmeal is now a popular option for breakfast and is often eaten with milk. Half a bowl of them provides 130 kcal and 5g of fiber, which helps maintain weight, low cholesterol, and heart health. This heart-healthy diet is also helpful because of the slow-digesting carbohydrates, which saturate us for a long time and give us energy from breakfast to lunch. Against the risk of diabetes and heart disease also help wheat, barley, rye, millet, brown and wild rice, and quinoa. It is important to use whole grains to prepare meals, but not refined products, so beneficial nutrients are not lost. Of course, these grains can be found in ready-made products, such as whole-grain bread and pasta. It is recommended 30-40 g of oatmeal per day.


2) Salmon

heart healthy salmon

This fish is famous for its extraordinary content in omega 3 fatty acids, which can be of great help to regulate blood pressure and maintain healthy levels of clotting. It is scientifically proven that two servings per week can risk a heart attack. Salmon contains a carotenoid called astaxanthin, an antioxidant potent capable to prevent heart disease.

Salmon is one of the best sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. They are also found in sardines, herring, and mackerel. Omega-3 fatty acids can lower triglyceride levels in the body. When triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels are high, it is a signal of compromised heart health and the development of diabetes. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids decrease unwanted fats in the blood, preventing plaque and thrombus formation. This also avoids blood flow and clogging blood vessels and maintains an average heart rate. Fatty fish should be eaten at least twice a week, 85 to 170 g per serving.


Related: The top 10 things that are sabotaging your diet


3) Avocado

avocado for heart health

It is a whole fruit of monounsaturated fats, substances identified as responsible for helping to maintain low levels of LDL cholesterol, increasing the amount of HDL cholesterol in your body. They also allow the absorption of beta–carotene and lycopene, two proven antioxidants, preventing cardiovascular disease.

Avocado is healthy for the heart!
Avocado has among the highest levels of any fruit when it comes to vitamin E – and vitamin E is known to be a great fighter against atherosclerosis and a heart protector. Vitamin K, which is also present and does an excellent job with blood clotting, supports the pro-heart effect.

Avocado healthy for cholesterol!
Yes, it’s true: At about 15 percent, avocado already has quite a lush fat content. Together with the olive, it is the fruit with the highest fat content. But in the case of the avocado, it is almost exclusively the valuable monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids – such as oleic acid, which helps reduce the “bad” cholesterol LDL in your blood and raises the level of the “good” cholesterol HDL. And that, in turn, is good for your heart. By the way, you’ll also find plenty of oleic acid in avocado oil. The positive cholesterol level effect was proven, for example, in 2015 by a study at Penn State University in Philadelphia/USA. This is why doctors, who until a few years ago had avocado on the index for patients with high cholesterol, now make the opposite recommendation: One avocado a day is now expressly permitted!

avocado healthy for the eyes
The pigment lutein, which is found in avocado, is directly involved in our visual process. It has been proven that lutein has a positive effect on some eye diseases or even prevents them from developing in the first place, and this even in old age. Also, the vitamin A in the avocado is good and healthy for your eyesight.

avocado healthy for joints, good against arthritis
The anti-inflammatory substances in avocado make our joints less susceptible to arthritis. These unique ingredients of avocado include vitamins E and C, carotenoids, phytosterols, and of course, unsaturated fatty acids.


4) Olive oil

heart healthy olive oil

It has an amazing content of monounsaturated fats. For this reason, it is a highly effective natural remedy to reduce LDL cholesterol, causing, in turn, a decreased risk of developing heart disease. When buying olive oil, you only need to consider extra virgin oil because it is less processed and has almost intact its healing properties.

Mediterranean diet is very healthy.
The Mediterranean diet has long been known as one of the healthiest diets. If people want to change their diet to promote better heart health, a Mediterranean diet can be helpful. One of the main ingredients in such a diet is olive oil. In addition, this includes many unrefined, plant-based foods and fish.

Protective effect of olive oil
Analysis of long-term data from 1990 shows that eating more than half a tablespoon of olive oil a day reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by 15 percent and the risk of coronary heart disease by 21 percent.

Replace unhealthy fatty acids with omega-3s
Olive oil is an easy way to replace unhealthy saturated fat and trans fat in animal fats with a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation and improve cholesterol levels. Olive oil has also been linked to improved vascular function and heart health.


5) Tree nuts

the top 10 heart healthy foods walnuts

They are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and other mono- and polyunsaturated fats. They are also rich in calcium, magnesium, and potassium, three minerals essential for proper heart function.

Therefore, nuts are at the top of the list of healthy foods for many nutritionists – and epidemiologists provide the appropriate arguments in this regard. In a meta-analysis, Dagfinn Aune of the Norwegian University of Technology and Natural Sciences in Bergen summarized the results of 29 publications (on 20 cohorts). The data included 819,000 participants, with 12,000 coronary heart disease, 9,000 stroke, 18,000 cardiovascular disease and cancer, and 85,000 deaths.

Because of this extensive database, the results, which had pointed in this direction in previous studies, were statistically significant in many respects for the first time. According to Aune’s findings, for example, people who frequently eat nuts are 24 percent less likely to develop coronary heart disease and 11 percent less likely to suffer a stroke.

The risk of cardiovascular disease was reduced by 19 percent overall and cancer mortality by 18 percent. Overall mortality was also 19 percent lower, according to Aune. The beneficial effects were detectable for “real” tree nuts and peanuts, which botanically belong to the legumes.


6) Berries

berries great food for hearth health

Both blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or other varieties of berries, have the distinction of being rich in anti-inflammatory components that can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

They are small, but they have it in them. Especially dark berry fruits are full of healthy substances that keep our metabolism fit and protect the cells of our body. Blackberries, blueberries, and black currants are particularly rich in anthocyanins. These plant substances are responsible for the color of the berries. But they can do even more.

Secondary plant compounds are said to have an anti-inflammatory effect. They help to scavenge free radicals in the body. Anthocyanins keep cells elastic, thus preventing cardiovascular diseases and strengthening the immune system. The substances, which belong to the genus of flavonoids, are also said to reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Black currants are vitamin bombs.
In addition, many of the small berries are also real vitamin bombs. First and foremost, black currants. They can boast around 180 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams of berries—more than four times as much as their red sisters. Strawberries have long been known to be a great source of vitamin C. However, the red fruits still contain 60 milligrams per 100 grams.

The Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends consuming 100 milligrams of vitamin C a day. This is quickly covered by a portion of fresh strawberries or mixed berries. The fruits are also low in calories. And if you mix them with raspberries, you’ll also be doing something for your digestion because the delicate berries contain a lot of fiber.


7) Legumes

legumes for heart health

Lentils, chickpeas, and black beans are rich sources of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and vitamin B1. These natural components are of great help to activate and keep your heart healthy.

Chronic diseases on the rise
This was the conclusion of six clinical studies that have now been published at the Pulse Health & Food Symposium in Toronto. The studies involved researchers from Canada and Purdue University and the University of Florida. “Chronic diseases and other health issues are steadily on the rise,” said Peter Watts, director of Market Innovation at Pulse Canada. “These study results lead to the realization that beans, peas, and lentils have great potential to lower cholesterol, fight cardiovascular disease, support insulin management and improve gut health.”

Lowering cholesterol possible with regular consumption
The clinical trials showed, researchers said, that legumes can help regulate weight-related health problems, for example, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. They said that regular beans and other legumes might also help lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. The levels are two important risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The research links legume consumption to good arterial health, improved gut flora, and lower blood pressure.

Legumes help not only against overweight.
In addition, several of the six studies showed that regular consumption of legumes could play an essential role in combating obesity. Regular consumption, the researchers added, increases the feeling of satiety and supports weight reduction. People with diabetes may also benefit from legumes because they have a low glycemic index and can thus help regulate insulin levels. Regular consumption of pulses also leads to an increased intake of fiber, folic acid, vitamin C, iron, zinc, potassium, and proteins.


8) Leafy greens

leafy greens for heart health

These leafy green vegetables have extraordinary antioxidant components, especially lutein, folic acid, potassium, and fiber.

Spinach is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that protect the heart against cardiovascular diseases. The same applies to vegetables such as broccoli and kale. Spinach also contains omega-3 fatty acids and folic acid. This reduces the homocysteine level in the blood, which is considered a risk factor for heart attack and stroke. So, in spring you can enjoy all salads and dishes with green leafy vegetables!


9) Flaxseed

flax seed is heart healthy

Flax seeds are a high source of fiber and fatty acids omega 3 and omega 6, essential substances for the proper functioning of the heart and arteries healthy.

Omega-3 fatty acids: Why linseed oil and flaxseed are so healthy
Linseed oil and flaxseed are considered true superfoods. They stimulate digestion and help prevent cardiovascular disease thanks to the blood pressure-lowering and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids they contain.

It has long been known that flax oil and flaxseed stimulate digestion. But not only that. These foods can also protect the heart.

Already the inhabitants of Troy enjoyed flaxseed. Remains of linseed found in amphorae during excavations prove this.

The hulls of flaxseed contain swellable dietary fibers that get the intestines moving. Flaxseed develops its optimal effect when it is lightly broken up or crushed.


10) Soy

heart healthy soy milk

It can help reduce cholesterol and prevent other coronary complications because it has a low saturated fat content. Remember, it is an excellent source of lean vegetable protein, essential for your heart-healthy diet.

Soy is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Soy proteins are an alternative to red meat. The soybeans are low in fat but rich in fiber, unlike meat. Research has consistently shown that a diet low in fat and the inclusion of soy proteins contribute to reducing bad cholesterol in the blood. American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 30g of soy protein daily. They can be taken with soy, soy nuts, soy milk, soy flour, tofu, tempeh, etc.

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