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The 10 Best Foods for a Healthy Heart

January 23 2015

Our changing (and unfortunately, unhealthy) lifestyles are increasing the risks of cardiovascular diseases. Unhealthy diets, coupled with sedentary lifestyles are the prime reasons for the observed increase in diseases like strokes and heart attacks. Here's a list of ten best food suggestions which if incorporated into the daily diet, can significantly reduce the risks associated with a heart problem.

1. Go Green

Go Green

Green veggies like spinach contain chemicals like lutein, folate, potassium and fiber; all good for your ticker. All greens are rich in carotenoids (and hence the green color) which are exceptional antioxidants. They are also rich in vitamins and some also contain Omega-3 fatty acids. Green vegetables can cut your heart diseases risk by as much as 25% if consumed in two-and-a-half servings every day.

2. Forestall LDL

Forestall

Try olive oil instead of butter in your cooking. But be sure to choose the extra-virgin and virgin variety. Olive oil is full of monosaturated fats and it helps in reducing LDL cholesterol from the blood. It is a well-known fact that people who follow the "Mediterranean Diet," which has around four tablespoons (per day) of olive oil reduces the risk of heart diseases by almost 30%.

3. Snack Right

Snack Right

Almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts, pistachios, peanuts, macadamia nuts are all good for your heart. They are full of mono- and polyunsaturated fat as well as fiber. They contain Vitamin E and some nuts, like walnuts, contain Omega-3 fatty acids. Snack on the unsalted variety during between-meals hunger pangs.

4. Stick with Soy

Stick with Soy

Soy products like tofu and soy milk provide high quality protein (which decreases LDL cholesterol in blood) without the bad fat. They also contain fiber, minerals, vitamin and high levels of polyunsaturated fats, which are all good for the heart. Soy also helps reduce blood pressure in people who consume a lot of refined carbohydrates.

5. Favor the Fish

Favor the Fish

Fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines and salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which play an important role in reducing triglycerides from the blood. Salmon, in addition, also contains the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin. Choose from wild variety rather than the farm raised ones, as they might contain chemical contaminants like pesticides and heavy metals. Two servings per week will reduce your risk of dying from a cardiac disease by as much as one-third.

Breakfast with Oats

6. Breakfast with Oats

How about a hot bowl of oats porridge to start the day? Oats are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, folate and potassium, which are known to have a heart-protective effect. It also contains large amounts of fiber which helps in digestion and reduces the amounts of LDL or "bad" cholesterol.

 

7. Sprinkle, Blend or Munch Flax Seeds

Munch Flax Seeds

High in Omega-3, Omega-6 and fiber, flax seeds are a powerhouse of goodies for the heart. A sprinkling of ground, roasted flax seeds on your oatmeal or mixed with whole grain flour or blended with soy milk or simply munched away, a small amount of flax seeds can do a mountain of good to your heart.

 

8. Start with Legumes

Start with Legumes

People who consumed legumes (peas, beans and lentils) at least 4 times a week reduced their risk of getting a heart disease by 22%. Legumes also help reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics. Legumes are rich in high quality protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and soluble fiber.

 

9. Bring in the Berries

Bring in the Berries

Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries contain high levels of anti-inflammatory compounds to keep your heart healthy. Anthocyanins and flavonoids in the berries decrease blood pressure and help in dilating blood vessels.

10. Savor the Chocolates

Savor the Chocolates

Now here's one food that is going to bring a smile to your face. Chocolates. Yes! But mind you, only the dark kind with more than 60% cocoa. Dark chocolates contain a compound called flavonol which dilates blood vessels and reduces blood pressure. Flavonoids called polyphenols also reduce clotting and inflammation.

Share this information with somebody you care about or get started on this diet yourself in case you wish to steer clear of cardiac troubles!


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