Heart disease remains the number 1 killer of Americans; and it refers to a range of conditions that affect your heart. Many of these conditions are preventable, as lifestyle choices are oftentimes their main causes. It is important to continue to educate ourselves and our loved ones in an effort to help prevent any more instances of this deadly disease. As you continue your quest to live a longer, more fulfilling life here are some heart healthy foods to help you along the way.
1. Salmon – Fatty fishes such as mackerel, sardine, tuna and salmon are recommended by the American heart association, because they contain an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids. Research has shown that omega-3 lowers the risk of two particular types of heart problems, arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) and atherosclerosis.
2. Berries- Eating an assortment of berries can actually have wonderful effects on heart health. Blueberries, strawberries, and other berries contain anthocyanins and flavonoids which are antioxidants, and can help to decrease blood pressure.
3. Tomatoes- A couple slices of cold tomatoes will come in quit handy during the hot summer months, but they have other benefits as well. They contain lycopene – a carotenoid that can help keep blood vessels open, and can rid your body of ‘bad’ cholesterol.
4. Dark Chocolate- Many people will be happy to know that dark chocolate can actually reduce nonfatal strokes and heart attacks–as was revealed in a 2012 study. This only refers to dark chocolate (it must comprise at least 60% cocoa), which contains polyphenols, a type of flavonoid which is said to help with clotting, inflammation and blood pressure.
5. Soy- This is quite popular in the health food realm as it is often used as protein replacement by vegans and vegetarians. Soy can help to reduce blood pressure, and it contains high levels of polyunsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals and fibre.
6. Potatoes – These are rich in fibre and potassium and not only help in lowering blood pressure, but in addition helps lower the risk for heart disease. Preparation is important though, deep fried potatoes wedges, or fries are not the healthiest ways to prepare potatoes, opt for baked or boiled instead.
7. Red Wine- A glass of red wine a day, keeps heart disease away; who knew right? Red wine contains antioxidants which increase the levels of high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol), and helps prevent heart disease. It is important to note that moderation must be observed in this instance, no more than one glass per day is recommended.