Why heart healthy foods?
An unhealthy diet puts you at risk of heart disease. Why? Unhealthy foods increase your cholesterol levels and weight. Therefore, you need to include heart-healthy foods in your diet.
But what constitutes foods for heart health?
The Following Is A Heart Healthy Foods List
Leafy Green Vegetables
A healthy diet should include all kinds of vegetables. However, leafy green vegetables such as collard greens, kale, and spinach are more important for heart health. They are heart-healthy foods as they are rich in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Leafy green vegetables are rich in vitamin K. This vitamin is a factor in blood clotting and promotes the health of blood vessels. Additionally, these vegetables are a rich source of dietary nitrates. However, these nitrated improve blood cells function and reduce the stiffness of blood vessels.
More importantly, studies support that a high intake of leafy green vegetables reduces the risk of heart disease. This analysis showed that green vegetables could contribute to a more than 16% decrease in heart disease risk.
Soluble FiberL Heart Healthy Foods
Fiber appears more in lists for improving digestion. However, soluble fiber has a place in any comprehensive healthy heart food list. Soluble fiber helps decrease cholesterol levels. Cholesterol clogs blood vessels, a scenario that increases blood pressure and the risk of coronary artery disease.
One of the best sources of soluble fiber is whole grains. They contain all parts of a grain; bran, endosperm, and germ. So types of whole grains include whole wheat, oats, barley, buckwheat, quinoa. And brown rice!
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats found in fatty fish and some varieties of nuts and seeds. These healthy fats are foods for heart health since they:
- Decrease triglyceride levels – high triglyceride levels increase the risk of heart disease.
- Decrease of plaque in the arteries – clogged arteries increase blood pressure.
- Reduce blood pressure – high blood pressure is a risk factor of a heart attack.
If you already suffer a heart condition, doctors recommend omega-3 supplements. However, there are foods rich in omega-3, such as:
- Fatty fish – mackerel, tuna, herring, salmon, and sardines
- Nuts such as walnuts
- Seeds such as hemp seeds, flaxseed, and chia seeds
- Beans and other legumes
Plant-based protein sources such as beans and peas have resistant starch. This indigestible starch acts as a prebiotic – food for healthy gut bacteria called probiotics.
Mainly, resistant starch improves digestion. However, it also improves heart health by decreasing the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. So in lay-mans terms, beans are foods for heart health as they reduce some of the risk factors of heart disease.
Green tea makes this healthy heart food list for several reasons:
- It improves fat burning: unhealthy weight is a heart disease risk factor.
- Antioxidant-rich: antioxidants prevent inflammation, which causes many chronic conditions, including heart disease.
- Lowers levels of LDL (bad cholesterol), which is heart disease and blood pressure risk factor.
- Reduces blood pressure, both diastolic and systolic blood pressures.
There’s an inarguable link between diet and the risk of heart disease. So, the health of your heart is highly dependent on the food you put on your plate. Poor dietary choices influence blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides levels, and inflammation. Include the heart-healthy foods listed above to reduce the risk of heart-related conditions.
So we hope this article will help you understand how to maintain heart health with healthy food.