If you’re looking to improve your heart health, some of the best foods to add to your diet include salmon, spinach, soybeans, nuts and olive oil. These foods are high in nutrients that help keep your arteries clear and your heart working properly. Read on to learn more about the health benefits of these eight heart-healthy foods and how much you should be eating every day!
If you’re looking for some leafy greens that aren’t so common, look no further than spinach. It contains folic acid and vitamin C, which are both excellent for your heart. Other sources of folic acid include broccoli, lettuce, asparagus and brussels sprouts. Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits like oranges or lemons and also in tomatoes. Some other heart-healthy foods include walnuts, fish oil, blueberries and salmon.
A handful of nuts, such as walnuts, cashews or almonds is an easy way to keep your heart healthy. Nuts contain plant sterols, which help reduce cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. They’re also a source of good fats that benefit your heart and overall health. Check out our collection of healthy nut recipes for more ideas on how to incorporate them into your diet.
Salmon and other fatty fish, such as mackerel and sardines, are filled with omega-3s—and one study found that men who consumed just 250 grams of salmon per week were 36 percent less likely to die from heart disease. Other heart-healthy choices include almonds, walnuts, edamame, sweet potatoes and peas.
Legumes are an excellent addition to any heart-healthy diet, as they offer both soluble and insoluble fiber. Plus, beans contain high levels of antioxidants and plant-based protein—both of which aid in preventing cardiovascular disease. Some of our favorite beans include black beans, lentils, chickpeas, and edamame.
One of my favorite heart-healthy foods, tomatoes are known for their high levels of lycopene, a carotenoid that improves our heart health and protects us from free radicals. Lycopene is also effective in killing cancer cells. This little vegetable also contains vitamins A and C, and potassium, which help reduce blood pressure and strengthen our hearts.
Tomato paste is great as an alternative sweetener to sugar; mix it into oatmeal or replace some of your tomato sauce with organic tomato paste for spaghetti!
Research shows that avocados have a positive effect on cardiovascular health, such as helping to lower cholesterol. Other heart-healthy foods include salmon, dark chocolate and legumes. Avocados are high in fiber and good fats; eating them could help you achieve healthier levels of both.
Salmon is packed with Omega-3 fatty acids—also good for your heart. Dark chocolate is also loaded with antioxidants that might help lower blood pressure and even boost HDL levels (high-density lipoprotein). Legumes like lentils and kidney beans are rich in folate, which could lower blood pressure.
And research shows that folates may play a role in reducing inflammation in your body—which can decrease your risk of stroke or heart attack by 25 percent or more!
Cherries are a heart-healthy food because they contain beneficial antioxidants and may reduce blood pressure. In fact, consuming just one serving of cherries per day may lower systolic blood pressure by three to five points. Cherry juice is also effective at improving insulin sensitivity and reducing inflammation, which can help protect against coronary artery disease (CAD).
In addition, research has shown that having an eight-ounce glass of cherry juice before bed lowered heart rate and decreased nighttime cardiac arrhythmias in heart failure patients. Just be sure you’re choosing tart or pie cherries over sweet varieties; dried or canned cherries aren’t as good for your health.
For anyone looking for heart healthy foods, cherries are a great place to start. Cherries contain anthocyanins which are antioxidants that have been linked with preventing heart disease and lowering cholesterol. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that eating tart cherries improved blood flow within minutes by promoting nitric oxide release.
Though studies have suggested multiple ways cherries aid heart health, one thing is certain: their antioxidant levels rival some fruits commonly labelled as superfruits like blueberries, blackberries, and cranberries. The average adult should eat two or three servings of fruit every day; adding two cups of fresh cherries per week will help you reach your goal easily!
Although the cardiovascular disease has long been considered an older person’s problem, heart attacks and strokes kill more people under 65 than any other cause. Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in all your cells and throughout your bloodstream. When it levels are too high, that’s when you may be at risk of developing heart disease. Fortunately, there are certain foods you can add to your diet that will help lower cholesterol levels naturally without drugs or surgery. These are 8 of my favourite heart healthy foods.