Maximise Your Heart Health With These 6 Types Of Foods17 Jul 2021
Your diet plays a major role in your heart health. Certain foods you eat can influence your blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol levels, as well as inflammation, all of which are risk factors for heart disease. According to the World Health Organisation in 2021, cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death globally.
To keep your heart and circulatory system working at their best, be sure to include the following foods in your diet:
Foods rich in healthy fats
Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel and trout are full of omega-3 fatty acids which are good for your heart and blood vessels. Healthy fats lower your blood cholesterol level.
Avocados are an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats which can reduce cholesterol levels.
Adding nuts and seeds to your diet is also a good option. These nutrient-dense snacks are rich in polyunsaturated fats as well as fibre and protein. Do note that they are high in calories but can still be enjoyed in moderation without compromising your heart health. For optimal nutrition, go for unsalted mixed nuts.
Whole grains can help reduce “bad” cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease. Compared to refined grains, whole grains are richer in fibre as they include all three nutrient-rich parts of the grain, which are the germ, endosperm and bran. Common types of whole grains include whole wheat, brown rice, oats, rye, barley, buckwheat and quinoa.
Fruits and colourful vegetables
Pack your plate with colourful fruits and vegetables which contain many of the vitamins and antioxidants you need for protection against heart disease. Fruits such as oranges, cantaloupes and papaya are rich in beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium and fibre, all of which contain heart health benefits. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are jam-packed with important nutrients that play a central role in heart health.
Leafy green vegetables are high in vitamin K and nitrates, which can help reduce blood pressure and improve arterial function.
Red, yellow and orange veggies such as carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers, tomatoes and acorn squash are packed with carotenoids, fibre and vitamins to help your heart.
When choosing protein, go for low-fat options. They can help lower blood pressure and increase good cholesterol. The best kinds of low-fat protein sources are fish, lean meat, low-fat dairy, tofu and eggs.
Legumes such as beans, peas, and lentils are another excellent option. They contain no cholesterol and have significantly less fat than meat.
Herbs and spices
Adding herbs and spices to your everyday cooking can go a long way in protecting your heart while bringing up tons of flavour. Use more of these and cut down on salt, which can increase your blood pressure and raise your risk of cardiovascular disease if consumed too much.
Some great ones to have in your kitchen at all times include garlic, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, onions and cayenne pepper.
Your heart is a crucial organ for your survival as it affects every part of your body. This is why it’s important to keep it healthy so that its main function - circulating oxygen-rich blood throughout your body - is not interrupted.
As you keep your heart healthy with foods that protect it, be sure it is also protected financially so that you have access to medical treatments if you need them.