Heart disease accounts for almost one-third of all deaths worldwide. So an important question to ask yourself is, “Are the types of food I eat working for me or against me?” The foods you eat affect your weight, hormones and the health of your organs, including your heart.
Your heart is the center of your cardiovascular system and is vital for many of the daily functions your body needs to thrive. Improving heart health is easy when you know which foods can help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Best food for your heart
Add these to your plate to boost heart health:
- Leafy green vegetables
Kale, spinach and collard greens are rich in vitamin K, which helps protect your arteries and promote blood clotting. These vegetables are also high in dietary nitrates, which help lower blood pressure and decrease arterial stiffness.
- Whole grains
Whole grains are high in fiber, which may help reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol and decrease your risk of heart disease. In fact, one analysis of 45 studies concluded that eating three or more servings of whole grains per day is associated with a 22 percent lower risk of heart disease.
Pick a berry, any berry. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are loaded with important nutrients, like polyphenols (especially anthocyanins), micronutrients and fiber, which play an important role in heart health.
Have you ever tried avocado toast? You should. Avocados are an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which are linked to reducing levels of cholesterol and lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. They’re also rich in potassium, a nutrient that is essential for heart health.
Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which help slow the buildup of plaque in the arteries and lower blood pressure.
Walnuts and almonds are a terrific source of fiber, magnesium, copper and manganese, which work together to help lower blood pressure, enlarge veins to efficiently carry blood to the brain and other organs.
Chia seeds, flax seeds and hemp seeds are all great sources of heart-healthy nutrients like fiber and omega-3s. They also help reduce inflammation, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides, which can lower your risk for heart disease.
Yes, more green vegetables. Beans contain resistant starch, which can improve heart health by decreasing blood levels of triglycerides and cholesterol.
- Dark chocolate
After eating all those green vegetables and whole grains, treat yourself to a bit of dark chocolate. It’s rich in antioxidants (like flavonoids), which can help boost heart health.
The antioxidants found in tomatoes help neutralize harmful free radicals and prevent oxidative damage and inflammation, both of which may contribute to heart disease.
If you’d like to learn more about eating well or talk to someone about starting an exercise routine, visit the doctor. Not only can doctors help treat you when you’re sick, but they can also provide preventative care and guidance to help you be as healthy as you can be.
If you or a loved one is experiencing heart problems, please visit Getwell Urgent Care as soon as possible for expert Care. We are open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. for walk-in appointments.