7 healthy foods for your heart

While heart-healthy foods can historically be considered dull or bland (think fiber-filled cereals and plain baked chicken) they don’t deserve the bad rep. Some extremely popular foods are overflowing with vitamins, minerals and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, all of which help your ticker tremendously. They’re just so popular that you’ve definitely already been eating them daily without even knowing it. If you are still not sure what they are, then these 7 healthy foods are for your heart is the answer.

  1. Tuna

For its portion, Tuna is a source of high-quality protein with practically no fat. This includes all of the essential amino acids that the body requires to develop and sustain lean muscle tissue. Canned tuna can be a good source of omega-3 heart-healthy fatty acids, offering 150 milligrams or more per four-ounce.

Several groups have been urging people to eat more food, including the USDA, the American Heart Association, and the American Dietetic Association. This refers to eating more tuna. It has been shown that omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease, blood clots and stroke, alleviate stress and help combat some cancers.

  1. Dark Chocolate

Early signs came from the remarkably stable elders of the island community of Kuna Indians in Panama that cacao is a heart-healthy food. They drank large quantities of unprocessed cacao— about four cups a day— and were heart disease-free. The Kuna developed high blood pressure in old age after they migrated to the cities, followed Western lifestyles, and gave up traditional cacao drinks. Several research, including 20 on the impact of cacao on blood pressure alone, reviewed in a Cochrane Review and released in August 2012, show linkages between dietary chocolate and good heart health markers.

  1. Avocados

Avocados are one of the few fruits that also make a healthy fat diet. A 50 g serving (or a quarter of an avocado) contains just 6 g of total fat, which is about the same amount of fat as cooking oil in a teaspoon. Above all, avocados are high in good monounsaturated fats. It has been shown that a balanced, varied diet rich in fruits and vegetables, including avocado, decreases the risk of heart disease and leads to good heart health.

You give your body a lot of what it wants to be at its best by eating the avocados daily.

Avocado is made of:

  • Strong antioxidants
  • A wide range of vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K and B vitamins such as B5, B6 and folic acid
  • Phytosterol-reducing anti-inflammatory and cholesterol
  • Valuable minerals such as manganese, iron, magnesium and potassium
  • Beneficial amounts of dietary fibre.
  1. Berries

Berries that have a long list of health benefits are bright, flavourful, and sweet.

This colorful fruits are rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, which help to fight cancer and chronic diseases. And its health benefits are just getting sweeter!

A recent study in the journal indicates that sprinkling your yogurt with just a few more blueberries or mixing strawberries into your morning smoothie may help reduce the risk of heart attacks.

  1. Beans

Beans contain resistant starch which resists digestion and is fermented in your intestine by the beneficial bacteria. Resistant starch can boost heart health by decreasing the blood triglycerides and cholesterol levels, according to some animal studies.

Interestingly, several studies have found consuming beans can reduce certain risk factors for heart disease. Eating pinto beans in one study of 16 people lowered blood triglyceride levels and “poor” LDL cholesterol.

One study of 26 trials has showed a diet high in beans and legumes significantly lowered LDL cholesterol levels. In comparison, eating beans has been associated with decreased blood pressure and inflammation, both of which are risk factors for heart disease.

  1. Walnuts

Research has found that people at risk of heart attack will reduce their risk by eating a healthy diet with nuts.

Research suggests eating nuts might:

  • Reduce your cholesterol and triglyceride rates of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”), which play a major role in building up deposits called plaques in your arteries.
  • Boost the lining protection of your arteries.
  • Lower levels of heart disease related inflammation.
  • Reduce the risk of blood clots forming, which can lead to heart disease and death.

As a consequence, nuts will improve your heart health and reduce your risk of early death from heart disease and other causes.

  1. Olive Oil

The heart-healthy benefits of olive oil, a staple in the Mediterranean diet, are well documented. Olive oil is filled with antioxidants which can reduce inflammation and chronic disease risk.

It is also high in monounsaturated fatty acids and many studies have linked it to heart health improvements. In fact, a higher olive oil consumption was associated with a 48 per cent lower risk of heart disease dying.

Another large study also showed that lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure was associated with higher intakes of olive oil. Take advantage of the many advantages of olive oil by sprinkling it over fried dishes or applying it to sauces and vinaigrettes.

In addition to 7 healthy heart foods above, there are another step to avoid heart disease:

  • Control your portion size

How much you eat is equal to what you consume. Overloading your plate, taking seconds and consuming until you are bloated will add more calories to consume than you should. Portions served at restaurants also require more than anyone else.

  • Limit unhealthy fats

Limiting how much saturated and trans fats you consume is an important step in lowering cholesterol in your blood and raising the chance of coronary artery disease. A high level of blood cholesterol can cause plaques to build up in your arteries, or atherosclerosis, which can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

  • Choose low-fat protein sources

Lean meat, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products and eggs are amongst the best protein sources. But be careful when selecting lower fat options, such as skim milk instead of whole milk and skinless chicken breasts rather than fried chicken patties.

  • Reduce the sodium in your food

High sodium ingestion may lead to high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Sodium reduction is an important part of a heart healthy diet.

  • Allow yourself an occasional treat

Every now and then give yourself an indulgence. A candy bar or a bag of potato chips will not ruin your diet. But don’t let it become an excuse to give up on your healthy-eating plan. If overindulgence is the exception rather than the rule, you will over the long term balance things out. What’s crucial is that you are always eating healthy foods.

(source: healthcentral.com, everydayhealth.com, heartfoundation.org.au, healthline.com, and mayoclinic.org)

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