6 Heart-Healthy Foods You Should Be Eating

6 Heart-Healthy Foods You Should Be Eating

Heart disease accounts for nearly 1/3 of all deaths worldwide. Your diet plays a major role in heart health, which can impact your risk of heart disease. In this article, we will explore six foods that you should be eating to maximize your heart health.

1. Leafy Green Vegetables

Leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, and collard greens are known for their high nutrient content, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are a great source of vitamin K, which helps protect your arteries and promote proper blood clotting. Leafy green vegetables are also high in dietary nitrates, which have been shown to reduce blood pressure, decrease arterial stiffness, and improve the function of cells lining the blood vessels. Studies have found a strong link between increasing your intake of leafy green vegetables and a reduced risk of heart disease.

2. Berries

Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are packed with important nutrients that are central to heart health. Berries are rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins, which protect against the oxidative stress and inflammation that contribute to the development of heart disease. Eating lots of berries can reduce several risk factors of heart disease, including bad LDL cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, body mass index, and certain markers of inflammation.

3. Avocados

Avocados are an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, which are linked to reduced levels of cholesterol and reduced risk of heart disease. They are also a rich source of potassium, which is a really important mineral for heart health. Eating one whole avocado provides 28% of the amount of potassium that you need in a day.

4. Edamame

Edamame is an immature soybean frequently found in Asian cuisine. It is rich in soy isoflavones, a type of flavonoid that may help lower bad LDL cholesterol levels and improve heart health. Edamame is also a source of other heart-healthy nutrients, including fiber and antioxidants.

5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is packed with antioxidants, which can relieve inflammation and decrease the risk of chronic disease. It is also rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, associated with improvements in heart health. Those who consume the most extra virgin olive oil have a 30 to 50% lower risk of developing heart disease. It is equally as good, if not better than coconut oil for cooking at high temperatures because of its high oxidative stability.

6. Beans

Beans contain resistant starch, which resists digestion and is fermented by the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Resistant starch can improve heart health by decreasing blood levels of triglycerides and cholesterol. Eating beans and legumes can also reduce certain risk factors for heart disease, including blood pressure.

Including all these heart-healthy foods as part of a nutritious, well-balanced diet will help keep your heart in good condition and reduce your risk of heart disease.

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