For most people with advanced heart disease, it’s important to follow a heart-healthy diet that helps reduce your risk of having a heart attack or any related complications, like a stroke.
Eating habits play a major role in heart health and help you reduce your risk of having a next heart attack.
In fact, certain foods can affect high cholesterol, BP, arrhythmias, diabetes, obesity, and cardiomyopathy, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.
Best heart-healthy foods to prevent heart disease
Although you may know that some unhealthy foods can increase your risk of heart disease, consuming healthy foods can lower your risk of heart disease. Here’s a breakdown of the diets that you’ll move toward heart-friendly foods.
1. Leafy green vegetables
If we talk about heart health, then the consumption of leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, and collard greens is considered the best. These include anti-oxidants, flavonoids, polyphenols, and especially, they are a great source of vitamin K and nitrates which helps protect your arteries and reduce blood pressure.
Studies have shown that a higher intake of leafy green vegetables was associated with 16% fewer cases of heart disease.
Vitamins present in green leafy vegetables maintain proper blood circulation by repairing any blockage in your arteries, which helps your heart to function smoothly.
In a survey conducted on 29,689 women, it has been found that women who include more amount of green leafy vegetables in their diet have a lower risk of coronary heart disease.
2. Whole grains
Whole grains are helpful in controlling cholesterol and blood pressure in the body. Grains like wheat, brown rice, oats, barley, quinoa, millet, chickpeas, buckwheat, and bean are rich in fiber, which proves to be helpful in reducing the risk of any type of heart.
Several studies have shown that if you include whole grains in your diet, it can reduce the risk of heart diseases by up to 22 percent.
There are two types of products made from cereals – whole grain and refined. Whole grains contain whole grains – the bran, seeds, and endosperm are all present, such as whole wheat flour, oatmeal, whole cornmeal. Whereas refined grain is processed, in which the bran and seeds are removed. In this process, most of the vitamins, iron, and dietary fiber found in grains are lost. Therefore, it is important for a healthy heart that you include flour, bread, etc. prepared from whole grains in your diet.
3. Walnuts And Raisins
Walnuts have the properties of controlling cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure. Whereas raisins have the property of keeping the blood thin with antioxidant elements. By including it in your diet, there is no problem of clotting in your body, and blood circulation is properly done in your body. When your blood circulation in your body is fine and cholesterol and blood pressure are controlled, then your heart health will also be healthy.
The researchers included 708 participants aged 63-79 years in this research conducted from May 2012 to May 2016. The participants were divided into two groups. The first group was given about half a cup of walnuts in the daily diet, while the people of the second group were advised not to eat walnuts. After two years, when the participants’ cholesterol levels were tested, the group who ate walnuts had significantly lower levels of bad cholesterol.
4. Dark chocolate
It is said that eating dark chocolate can also reduce the risk of heart attack by 50%. It has cardioprotective properties, which help in preventing many heart problems.
The flavanols found in chocolate prevent the formation of blood clots. Also, it can help in improving blood circulation.
Researchers believe that dark chocolate is good for the heart because it contains antioxidants that keep the blood-carrying cells dilated. This reduces the risk.
Strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries contain nutrients important for heart health. Berries are rich in antioxidant elements such as anthocyanins. By keeping the metabolism of your body balanced, reducing any kind of stress and excitement proves to be helpful in keeping you away from heart diseases.
6. Olive Oil
There is a lot of antioxidant elements inside olive oil. It is said that the healthiest oil for cooking is olive oil, so it will not be wrong. By making it a part of your diet, you can keep your heart healthy.
Olive oil is rich in monosaturated fat, which is beneficial for heart health. By controlling the level of cholesterol in the body, it proves helpful in keeping you away from heart diseases.
7. Green tea
Green tea is also considered very beneficial for your heart health as it lowers your body’s bad cholesterol level and also lowers your blood pressure, due to which your heart remains healthy.
Actually, catechin is the main element found in green tea. It is a natural antioxidant and rich in anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hypertensive properties. It lowers your cholesterol level by reducing the amount of cholesterol in your body. According to some research, even if you drink 2 cups of green tea daily, then you can protect yourself from increasing cholesterol. This lowers your risk of heart attack and stroke.
In the research, Japanese scientists studied 90 thousand people aged 40-69 for four years. Scientists found that women who drank just one cup of green tea a day had a 10 %lower risk of premature death, but if the amount was six cups, the risk was as low as 17 %.
Almonds are incredibly rich in vitamins and minerals, which are important for heart health.
Eating almonds in place of regular snacks can help many of us reduce the levels of bad LDL cholesterol and improve the health of our arteries.
It has been revealed in various studies that regularly consuming almonds not only sharpens your brain but also keeps your memory intact. Important nutrients like monounsaturated fat and fiber may help protect against heart disease.
Tomatoes are a good source of essential vitamins and minerals for your body. In addition to vitamin C, it is rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, thiamin, manganese, and iron.
Tomatoes contain high amounts of lycopene. Lycopene is an effective antioxidant that prevents oxidative damage and inflammation, both of which can contribute to heart disease.
Heart-healthy foods should be nutritious and include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc.
Nutritionally rich foods that have low cholesterol and are easily available at reasonable prices include spinach, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower, beans, etc., which can be included in the diet. However, certain high cholesterol foods such as peanut butter, packaged cookies, donuts and muffins, complete fat diaries, etc. should be avoided. Because of their high cholesterol, they are also more expensive than low-cholesterol foods indicating that we are paying a higher price for unhealthy food than for healthy food.
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