Treat Your Heart Well With These 5 Healthy Foods

A healthy heart is essential for general health. At any age, adopting a healthy lifestyle can help you avoid heart disease, high blood pressure and...

A healthy heart is essential for general health. At any age, adopting a healthy lifestyle can help you avoid heart disease, high blood pressure and reduce your increased risk of blood clotting or stroke. It is never too late or too early to start a heart-healthy diet and habits. The sooner you begin making healthy choices, the longer you will reap the benefits. Even if you've had a heart attack in the past, adjusting your eating habits to promote good health can help.

The following factors put you at a higher risk of heart disease:

  • Smoking.
  • Blood pressure that is too high.
  • Being overweight.
  • Increased Ldl cholesterol.
  • A lack of activity (no exercise).
  • Genetic predisposition.

One of the best ways to contribute to excellent heart health, lower blood pressure, and prevent cardiovascular disease is to eat healthier meals and exercise. There are a number of other things you may do to reduce your chances of developing heart disease. Avoiding excess salt, processed foods, unhealthy fats or saturated fats, canned fruit can lower the risk of heart disease.

You can protect your heart and lower your chance of acquiring life-threatening illnesses by adopting better lifestyle choices. Making these modest choices can have a significant influence on your heart's health and general well-being. Begin by eating a heart-healthy diet rich in dietary fiber, soluble fiber, lean meats, monounsaturated fatty acids, and polyunsaturated fats like olive oil, whole grains, whole wheat bread, low-fat dairy products.

What makes food heart-healthy?

Look at the ingredient list and nutrition data when you are out shopping. Choose meals and foods that are:

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids;

Fiber-rich food; Fiber may be found in a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in fatty fish. Nuts and seeds, plant oils, and fortified foods, such as specific brands of eggs, juices, milk, and yogurt, are all plant-based alternatives.

Low on saturated and trans fats;

Low on sodium.

What are 5 healthy foods for your heart?

What you eat and don't eat has a significant impact on your heart health. Genetics and other lifestyle factors, of course, have a role. Cardiovascular disease is the largest cause of mortality globally, accounting for around one out of every three fatalities in the United States. Over the previous four decades, deaths from heart disease have been reducing, but the trend has slowed in recent years.

Certain foods can0Here are our top 5 healthy foods that you should eat more of in order to prevent and protect your heart health.

Salmon and other fatty fish

Fish oils, particularly omega-3 fatty acids, are essential for heart health. That means that eating fish like salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, herring, lake trout, and sardines, as well as crustaceans like lobster, oysters, and squid, are great sources of protein and important heart-healthy foods. They all include omega-3 fatty acids, particularly the long-chain version known as LC omega-3, which contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (DHA).

Long-chain omega-3s have been demonstrated in human clinical trials to assist the heart keep its rhythm, which helps to avoid heart attacks. They also lower blood pressure, maintain blood sugar, protect blood vessels, reduce triglycerides, and reduce inflammation, according to studies.

Although alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a shorter chain of omega-3, is prevalent in olive oil, plants, nuts, and seeds, proof of its health benefits is lacking. DHA and EPA aren't found in plant-based omega-3s like flaxseed, walnuts, or canola oil. While plant-based foods have their own set of advantages, you can't rely on them as a source for their longer-chain counterparts since they aren't always transformed into them once inside the body.

Long-chain omega-3s are found in fatty fish like salmon, and the American Heart Association advises to include one-third of a portion at least twice a week in your diet.

Dark chocolate

Rich in healthy fat and antioxidants like flavonoids, which can help boost heart health, and very low in sugar content compared to its lighter peers. Milk chocolate can raise blood pressure and blood sugar but dark chocolate consumption has significant heart health benefits. The high cocoa content of dark chocolate contributes to its heart health advantages. Cocoa, like many other plant-based compounds, provides heart-healthy nutrients.

Flavonoids, a kind of chemical present in cocoa, as well as apples, citrus, tea, and other plant foods, have been shown to help people with hypertension drop their blood pressure. Flavanols, a subclass of flavonoids found in abundance in dark chocolate, may also be beneficial to heart health.

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Antioxidant capabilities are found in flavanols. Antioxidants are naturally occurring compounds found in cocoa, berries, spinach, and other plant foods that help repair damaged cells and may lower your risk of heart disease. Eating foods strong in antioxidants and flavonoids as a part of a healthy diet, for example, has been shown to be good for your heart and blood vessels.

Avocados

Are you already following a heart-healthy diet? Avocadoes should be added to it once a day. According to research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, substituting saturated fat with one nutrient-dense avocado per day can reduce blood pressure by up to 13.5 milligrams per deciliter. According to experts, this might be enough to keep some people off blood pressure medications.

Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats, which can help decrease total cholesterol and "bad" cholesterol (LDL) while keeping "good" cholesterol (HDL) levels stable. They can also help with insulin management, which is beneficial for those who have prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes. Low in sugar content, and contain healthy fats that are known to reduce the risk of several heart conditions, as well as healthy minerals such as potassium.

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Dark leafy greens

The heart-healthy benefits of salad greens, spinach, kale, swiss chard, collard greens, and mustard greens are hiding in their high content of vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as antioxidants that promote the body to eliminate toxins. However, it is their high calcium, magnesium, and potassium content that places them in the top ten for heart health.

Blood pressure control is known to be aided by nutrient-rich foods. Potassium, along with magnesium and calcium, is known to help minimize the effects of sodium intake on blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and it helps open blood vessels, increasing blood flow and lowering blood pressure.

Nuts and seeds

Potassium, magnesium, and other elements found in unsalted seeds and nuts have been shown to lower blood pressure. Pistachios, for example, have been shown to lower blood vessel tightness (also known as peripheral vascular resistance), heart rate, blood pressure, and cholesterol in studies.

Walnuts, pecans, almonds, flaxseed, macadamia nuts, and hazelnuts are all excellent options and a heart-healthy choice. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats. However, they are the short-chain form. Even so, it's wonderful for the heart.

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a short-chain omega-3 found in walnuts, flaxseed, and olive oil, has been linked to a lower risk of high blood pressure and heart disease, but to a lower extent than long-chain omega-3s. However, bear in mind that all nuts are incredibly calorie-dense.

What drink is good for your heart?

Making a heart-healthy option might be particularly difficult when supermarket shelves appear to be filled with a variety of beverages. So, what makes for the ideal heart-healthy beverage?

Water

Water is the best beverage since it has no calories and provides 100 percent hydration and hydration levels impact our health tremendously. Aim for 6-8 cups of it every day. If plain water isn't your thing, add a few slices of lemon, lime, or cucumber to make it more interesting. If you choose flavored water, read the nutritional label carefully because it may include a lot of sugar or artificial sweeteners.

RELATED: National Hydration Day: Make it a summer of water!

Red wine

If you drink alcohol, a glass of red wine may be a good option for your heart. Perfect for Valentine’s, in moderation, red wine contains Resveratrol and Catechins, two antioxidants that have been shown to improve the artery walls.

You can drink alcohol and enjoy the potential health benefits that are provided. Women should limit themselves to one drink per day, while men should limit themselves to two drinks per day. It's best to consult your doctor beforehand.

Green tea

Not only is it a healthier alternative to dairy and sugar-rich caffeinated drinks, but it’s also been studied, as green tea extract for 3 months reduced blood pressure, triglycerides, LDL (bad), and total cholesterol levels, compared to a placebo in this study. Plus it's still caffeinated meaning you can get that morning boost you need.

Last year, a meta-analysis of observational studies indicated that persons who drank the most green tea had a 28 percent reduced risk of coronary artery disease than those who drank the least green tea. There was 13 research done on green tea consumers and five studies conducted on black tea drinkers. Black tea had no influence on the risk of heart disease.

Green tea was reported to significantly decrease LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in a meta-analysis of 14 randomized, placebo-controlled research studies published in 2011. Rather than using the beverage itself, several of the research used capsules containing catechins, the active polyphenols in green tea.

Full-fat milk or yogurt

Full-fat dairy products consumption is beneficial to our cardiovascular health. Low-fat milk or soymilk are other healthy beverage options, and since most of us don't get enough calcium, drinking a glass of milk every day might be very beneficial. If you choose soymilk, go for the calcium-fortified variety. There is sterol-fortified milk on the market, which can help you decrease your cholesterol levels.

Recent research out of Sweden looked at the link between a fatty acid biomarker called 15:0 (pentadecanoic acid) found in blood samples and cardiovascular illnesses including heart disease and stroke. Biomarkers are chemicals that can assist identify normal or abnormal functioning.

According to the researchers, individuals with the greatest levels of the fatty acid linked with greater fat dairy had the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease and no risk of mortality from all causes among the 4,150 adult study participants (51 percent female and 60 median age). Other cardiovascular risk factors, such as smoking, were taken into consideration in the study.