The heart is one of the most important organs in the human body. Keeping a healthy heart is vital for maintaining a healthy body. Unfortunately, even if you’re exercising regularly, don’t smoke, and practice de-stressing activities, you could still be at risk for heart disease. Sometimes, heart disease and other heart issues are the results of genetics. However, maintaining a good diet and eating heart-healthy foods can help reduce the risk of health complications down the road.
Foods has a strong connection with healthy heart. When you don’t take care of your diet, your arteries can get clogged. Blocked arteries can lead to strokes, heart attacks, and other issues due to low blood flow.
Plaque builds up in your arteries if your diet is high in cholesterol, salt, sugar, and complex carbs. You should try to eat foods that are rich in fiber, potassium, magnesium, unsaturated fats, antioxidants, and carotene to maintain heart health. So, let’s take a look at top 10 foods that effectively help you maintain a healthy heart:
Oranges are a great source of fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, carotenoids, flavonoids, and folate. All these nutrients are essential for proper heart function. Eating orange can’t undo plaque buildup in your arteries, but it can help prevent future heart blockage.
You can eat oranges by themselves or drink them as orange juice. You can also add them in salads, sauces, or yogurt. They are a very versatile fruit and some of the best food for heart blockage.
Carotenoids are vital to avoid a stroke. The carrot is the only source of alpha, beta and gamma carotene. In short, carrots are one of the best foods that prevent heart disease.
Add raw carrots in salads or tasty sauces, pasta, and purees. You can also drink carrot juice mixed with other fruits and vegetables. No matter how you consume them, you should try to eat carrots as often as possible!
Complex carbs raise your blood sugar, which is definitely bad for heart health. Whole grains having simple carbs that digest slowly and are good for the heart. They are also a good source of fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. Whole grains include oatmeal, brown rice, and bran.
You can use oatmeal on its own as a healthy breakfast. If you want to eat bread, make sure it is made of bran or whole wheat. Avoid white rice and replace it with brown rice to add fiber, magnesium, and Vitamin B to your diet.
People talk a lot about the benefits of green vegetables, but do not underestimate or ignore green fruits. Green fruits include papaya, watermelon, avocado, kiwi, green apples, and green grapes. All these fruits contain carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, Vitamin C, lutein, calcium, and folate.
Try to add one of these fruits to your diet every day. You can eat them whole or in the form of fruit salad. You can also make fruit popsicles, juice, and salsa.
Nuts & Seeds
Nuts include almond, cashew, pistachio, hazelnuts, and walnuts, have good fats that lower bad cholesterol and help clean your arteries. They contain omega 3 fatty acids, mono-saturated fats, Vitamin E, calcium, fiber, and magnesium.
Many people add nuts to salads, which helps you get the benefits of nuts with all of the benefits of fresh vegetables. You can also eat a handful of nuts as a snack or add them to whole bread or cakes when baking.
Though seeds are similar to nuts, they contain soluble fibers, magnesium, and folate. The best heart-healthy seeds include flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, fenugreek seeds, and black seeds. You can sprinkle them on just about any meal or snack, including yogurt, oatmeal, muffins, and breakfast cereals.
Fish should be a part of any diet as it is one of the best foods for your heart and arteries. It decreases cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Fatty fish has omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential for removing plaque from your arteries. Some fatty fish include salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel.
You can eat fish in a grilled or steamed form. You can also add just about any fruit sauce or puree to it. Finally, you can add fish chunks in fruit and vegetable salads.
People don’t often think of chocolate as a good food for the heart. However, resveratrol and cocoa phenols (flavonoids) in dark chocolate help lower blood pressure. Dark chocolate should be eaten in moderation though, as it contains varying amounts of sugar.
Always buy pure dark chocolate to reap the full benefits. Whenever you crave sweets, eat a chunk of dark chocolate instead. You can eat as many as 5 servings per week without overdoing it!
A lot of people ask: what drinks are good for your heart? The best answer: green tea. Full of antioxidants, catechins, and flavonols, green tea is recommended for people at risk of heart disease.
You can drink green tea hot or cold. Add lemon and honey for flavor enhancement. To get the full effects of its antioxidants, steep the leaves for 4 to 5 minutes. Try not to add sugar or cream, as these can reduce green tea’s heart-healthy benefits.
Allicin (a chemical compound present in raw garlic) reduces blood pressure and promotes heart health. It also decreases the risk of blood clots in arteries. Blood clots are one of the main causes of heart attacks.
Chop or press raw garlic to let it oxidize. Then, add this garlic to salads, sandwiches, or sprinkle it on steaks or fish fillets. You can even drink chopped garlic with water as the first thing in the morning if you want to decrease sugar and blood pressure levels naturally.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables are a treasure trove of heart-healthy nutrients including vitamin C, E, folate, iron, fiber, beta carotene, calcium, and vitamin B. Leafy greens include spinach, kale, asparagus, celery, lettuce, coriander, and mint.
You can add these vegetables in salads, omelets, sandwiches, sauces, or chutneys. You can also mix them with brown rice or pasta. The possibilities are endless.
The Bottom Line
Changing bad eating habits and avoiding certain foods is vital to keep your heart healthy. Eating foods that are good for your heart on a regular basis can improve your overall health and reduce the risk of heart disease. That said, eating the foods on the list above won’t magically make you healthy by all means. You should always try to eat a balanced diet, do low-impact exercises, and practice destressing activities like yoga and meditation!
Going through old age? You can read 6 Heart-Healthy Foods Everyone Over 50 Should Eat Daily