12 Foods That Keep Your Heart Healthy
Our heart pumps around 7570 litres of blood every day and is one of the strongest muscles in our body.
By taking good care of our heart, we can avert risk of cardiovascular diseases like arrhythmia, atherosclerosis, high or low blood pressure, strokes, coronary artery diseases and many more.
The key to having a healthy heart lies in regular exercise and healthy diet.
In fact, certain foods can influence blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol levels and inflammation, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.
Here’s a list of 12 foods that keep your heart healthy.
Carrots are not only good for the eyes but are also great for cardiovascular health. Carrots are high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that protects against artery-clogging oxidized LDL cholesterol. Cooked carrots have twice as many antioxidants as the heat breaks the cell membrane, making it easy for the body to absorb. Carrots are also high in fibers that can help reduce obesity.
2. Green Beans
Green beans contain high levels of flavonoids, a polyphenolic antioxidant that reduces inflammation. They also contain resistant starch which can improve the heart health by decreasing levels of triglycerides and LDL in the blood. Beans also have anti-thrombotic properties that prevents clotting of the blood in arteries and veins.
Broccoli may help the heart health in various ways. It lowers triglyceride levels and LDL bad cholesterol. Broccoli is high in carotenoids which acts as an antioxidant to free your body of any risks leading to a heart attack. It is high in fibers, vitamins and minerals essential or good working of the heart.
Avocados are a natural source of plant sterol called beta-sitosterol. Beta-sitosterol are said to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and regular consumption is great for the long run. Avocados provide body with monounsaturated fats that lowers heart disease by eliminating high levels of cholesterol. It is also high in antioxidants and potassium which is mandatory to reduce blood pressure.
Garlic contains certain supplements that helps lower blood pressure and hypertension. It also suppresses production of bad cholesterol in the liver by 10-15%, hence preventing heart strokes. Garlic aids in cutting down your salt intake which is also another cause for high blood pressure.
6. Kidney Beans
Kidney beans contain high quantity of magnesium, which is proven to act on the cholesterol and helps the body avert diseases associated with the heart like vascular diseases, stroke, coagulation of the arteries and heart attack to maintain a strong heart. In addition to this, it also lowers blood pressure and hypertension.
Watermelon is a great way to keep yourself hydrated, but it also contains high levels of lycopene which has many heart health benefits. Lycopene helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol and also prevents oxidative damage of LDL and HDL. Lycopene in watermelons also reduces thickness and firmness around the artery walls. It also contains citrulline, an amino acid that increases nitric oxide, which is known to reduce resistance of blood flow.
Blueberries are high in antioxidants. These antioxidants stop the LDL in the blood from getting oxidized and is a crucial step to avert heart disease risks. This process helps reduce cholesterol and preventing any blockages in the artery. Anthocyanins and flavonoids present in blueberries reduces blood pressure, ensuring smooth functioning of the heart.
9. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolates that contain more than 60% of cocoa are rich in flavanols which can stimulate endothelium, the lining of arteries, to produce nitric oxide. Nitric oxide reduces the resistance for blood flow hence reducing blood pressure. It also increases HDL, good cholesterol and notably reduces oxidation of LDL.
Oats are high in omega 3-fatty acids, soluble fibers, folate and potassium. Oats help reduce LDL or bad cholesterol and keeps the arteries clear of blockage. Folate and potassium helps lower blood pressure and hypertension, hence keeping the heart functioning correctly without any obstacles.
Tofu is a good alternative for a vegetarian or a vegan looking to add proteins to their diet without piling on unhealthy fats and cholesterol. Tofu has high levels of polyunsaturated fats, fiber, minerals and vitamins. Tofu can decrease LDL or bad cholesterol which in turn averts the risk of high blood pressure or atherosclerosis.
Salmon is one of the richest sources of Omega 3-fatty acids and potassium. Omega 3-fats belong to the ‘good’ fats category and is one of the main essentials that our body requires. Salmon helps decreasing inflammation, lowers blood pressure and plaque build up in the arteries, also known as atherosclerosis.