Some of the best foods to keep your heart healthy include salmon, walnuts, green tea, olive oil, apples, blueberries, spinach, chia seeds, beans, avocados, and many more!Cardiovascular diseases make up the single greatest cause of death on the planet.Protecting your heart is one of the most important and imperative things that everyone needs to do, even at a young age. Preventing things like unbalanced cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, plaque build-up in your arteries, and unnecessary strain on your cardiovascular system is of the utmost importance.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the best foods you can add to your diet to improve the health of your heart.
1) Nuts – Almonds, walnuts, and other varieties of nuts are all beneficial for heart health due to their impressive mineral content, including high levels of magnesium, as well as their great balance of monounsaturated fats as compared to saturated fats. This can help lower overall cholesterol levels. However, many nuts come salted, which is definitely not a heart-healthy choice, so opt for the unsalted varieties whenever possible.
2) Olive Oil – Plenty of monounsaturated fats in olive oil make it much better for cooking than butter or lard, and it also makes for a great, low-calorie salad dressing. There are also important antioxidant polyphenols that reduce inflammation of the cardiovascular system. Make sure to go for extra-virgin olive oil, as it is normally considered the healthiest option!
3) Salmon – Often considered one of the best heart healthy foods, salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to lower unhealthy cholesterol levels, while the high content of selenium found in fish like salmon has been directly linked to antioxidant effects, thus reducing oxidative stress and lowering your chances of developing chronic disease, including atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular complications.
4) Green Tea – The catechins and flavonols that are found in such significant quantities in green tea are ideal antioxidants to reduce chronic diseases and improve metabolism, both of which keeps your heart healthy and strong. Research shows that high levels of green tea in the diet can reduce your chances of a heart attack by nearly 50%.
5) Dark Chocolate – Dark chocolate is rich in flavonols, which have been linked to thinning the blood and preventing clotting, which seriously decreases your chances of strokes and heart attacks. Furthermore, the epicatechin found in dark chocolate is able to lower blood pressure and improve blood vessel health by boosting nitric oxide levels, a very important compounds for a health cardiovascular system.
6) Whole Grains – Grain choices like bran and rice are able to reduce gluten content in the body, which has been linked to lowering cholesterol levels and helping to prevent clogged arteries that can lead to atherosclerosis and many other cardiovascular complications.
7) Avocados – These delicious fruits are able to increase levels of “good” (HDL) cholesterol and lower levels of LDL cholesterol, making avocados a perfect addition to increase the strength and health of your cardiovascular system.
8) Beans – Legumes benefit heart health in two ways. The soluble fiber helps to inhibit the formation of cholesterol, while the flavonoids in beans can reduce the chances of blood clotting by lowering platelet adhesion, thereby protecting you against atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.
9) Apples – Although most fruits and vegetables are considered to be beneficial for heart health, apples are particularly good due to their high antioxidant content, particularly in their skin, in the form of polyphenolic compounds. Regularly adding apples to your heart-healthy diet has been found to reduce “bad” (LDL) cholesterol levels by more than 40%. This is partially due to pectin, which blocks the absorption of cholesterol in the body, and fiber, which eliminates excess LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream.
10) Spinach – Spinach and other cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and kale, are a great blend of minerals and vitamins, including potassium, vitamin B, and calcium, as well as dietary fiber and various antioxidant compounds. This potent blend of nutrients helps to lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and protect against oxidative stress.