Discover 20 Unexpected Heart-Healthy Foods You Were Unaware of!
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Scary, right? The good news is that you can help protect your heart by eating foods rich in nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and other essential components. Here are the 20 best foods for your heart health.
Oats contain fiber, a carbohydrate that can help prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Oats also fill you up, which helps you eat less (including foods that pose a risk to your heart).
Salmon is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet and an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids essential for heart health. Omega-3s have been proven to reduce inflammation, prevent clots, and lower blood pressure. Also, the protein in salmon can help you feel full for longer.
Walnuts are high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. They also contain phytosterols, compounds that are known to reduce cholesterol levels. In addition, walnuts contain fiber, magnesium, and vitamin E—all essential for a healthy heart.
Barley is a nutritious whole grain that is good for your heart. It is high in fiber and B vitamins, which reduce bad cholesterol levels and improve blood flow. Barley also contains lignans, an antioxidant that can help protect your heart against damage.
Beans are packed with nutrients like fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals that reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. The fiber in beans reduces cholesterol levels and keeps you feeling full for longer. Beans are also low in fat, so they won’t add extra calories to your diet and are a great substitute for other foods that can raise your cholesterol.
Yes, you read that correctly – dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, an antioxidant that can help lower cholesterol and protect your arteries from damage. Also, dark chocolate is a good source of iron and magnesium, two essential minerals for heart health. Choose dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content – the higher the percentage, the better.
Almonds are a delicious, heart-healthy snack. They contain healthy fats and fiber, which maintain healthy blood pressure and are great for your heart. They are also rich in protein, vitamin E, and magnesium.
Berries are an incredibly nutritious and delicious fruit with many health benefits. They contain antioxidants like anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, flavonoids, and ellagic acid. These antioxidants help reduce inflammation and plaque buildup in your arteries. They also have a higher water content than other fruits, making them a great low-calorie snack. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries are some of the best berries for your heart.
Tuna is another fish that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats protect your heart by increasing the flexibility of your artery walls and reducing inflammation and triglyceride levels associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. It’s lower in fat than other types of seafood, making it a healthier option. Also, the magnesium in tuna can help prevent hypertension.
Avocado is a creamy, nutrient-rich fruit with numerous health benefits. It is high in healthy fats, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals, protecting your heart health. The oleic acid in avocados reduces bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while the potassium in avocados regulates blood pressure.
Garlic is an aromatic and flavorful addition to any meal. It offers numerous health benefits and is rich in allicin, an antioxidant that protects your heart by lowering bad cholesterol and plaque buildup in the arteries. Garlic also reduces blood pressure and prevents blood clots, which increase your risk of heart disease. Moreover, garlic adds a delicious flavor to any meal!
A cup of green tea a day can help keep the doctor away! Green tea contains catechins, an antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation and lowers bad cholesterol levels. Also, green tea is a great source of polyphenols, which can protect against heart disease.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is a healthier option to butter or other unhealthy fats for cooking or baking. It is rich in monounsaturated fats that reduce bad cholesterol levels and protect arteries from damage. It also contains oleocanthal, an antioxidant that reduces inflammation, and oleuropein, an anti-inflammatory compound.
Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens like collard greens, mustard greens, and turnip greens are loaded with vitamins and minerals. They are also high in dietary nitrates, which can reduce blood pressure and improve oxygen flow to the heart. Additionally, dark leafy greens are a good source of fiber, which helps reduce bad cholesterol levels.
Quinoa is an incredibly nutritious whole grain high in fiber, protein, and B vitamins. It contains magnesium, which keeps your heart healthy by controlling blood pressure and reducing inflammation. Quinoa is a great alternative to white rice, and it can be used in various recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Wild rice is not like other types of rice – it is a whole grain that contains more fiber and B vitamins than white or brown rice. It also has a lower glycemic index, so it won’t cause your blood sugar to spike. Wild rice is packed with magnesium, zinc, and selenium, which keeps your heart healthy.
Liver contains high-quality protein and essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, copper, selenium, zinc, B vitamins, and vitamin A, making it an excellent source of these nutrients. Additionally, the liver is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation and cholesterol levels. Eating organ meats like liver can help you reach your recommended daily intake of these important nutrients.
Tomatoes are a delicious and nutritious superfood. They are rich in vitamin C and lycopene, an antioxidant that can minimize inflammation and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Tomatoes also contain potassium, which regulates blood pressure and lowers your risk of stroke. Eating tomatoes is a great way to get the nutrients you need for heart health.
Red wine is a healthier alternative to other forms of alcohol. It contains polyphenols, an antioxidant that can lower blood pressure, and resveratrol, a compound that can cut down cholesterol and improve blood vessel health. Red wine also contains flavonoids, which prevent heart disease. However, moderation is key – too much alcohol can damage your body.
Sweet potatoes are a nutritious root vegetable that can help keep your heart healthy. They are rich in vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. Fiber reduces bad cholesterol levels and keeps arteries clear, improving heart health. In addition, sweet potatoes have a low glycemic index, which means they do not cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels.