Spinach, kale, avocados, olives, nuts, and seeds are all 22 heart healthy foods. They can be eaten raw or cooked in a variety of dishes.
These foods are high in fiber which is beneficial for controlling cholesterol levels and for weight loss. Consuming these foods can help lower the risk of developing heart disease, which causes death in one out of every four people living in India.
Research has shown that people who eat these heart-healthy foods are likely to live longer than those who do not.
There is also evidence that consuming these foods can reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes, and strokes. Let us look at some of the best heart-healthy foods which must be included in our daily diet for better health.
What are heart healthy foods?
The U.S Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture recommend eating at least three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruits every day for good health.
These foods, which are high in fibre, help lower blood cholesterol levels and control weight. They also contain many essential vitamins such as Vitamin C, folate, potassium, and magnesium.
The Harvard School of Public Health recommends that we consume fish at least twice a week because it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which positively affects the body.
These protect against irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias), high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and cancer.
The Best 22 heart healthy foods:
This is a summer vegetable but can be grown in winter as well. It has zero cholesterol and zeroes fat content. It is rich in iron which prevents anaemia and boosts energy levels. It contains high levels of antioxidants which protect cells from damage. It is high in fibre which reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
It looks like cabbage but is lower in calories and has more iron and vitamin C than spinach. This leafy vegetable also contains omega-3 fatty acids and calcium. This is a good vegetable for weight loss, can help lower cholesterol levels and protect against heart disease.
These are commonly used as a substitute for butter or cream cheese. They contain healthy unsaturated fats, which can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease when consumed regularly. It also lowers the chances of developing certain types of cancer such as prostate, ovarian and endometrial cancer. It is high in fibre and helps the body eliminate toxins.
They are very rich in anti-inflammatory properties, which reduce pain caused by arthritis and muscle soreness. They contain antioxidants like vitamin E, beta carotene and polyphenols, which protect cells from damage and help in the repair process. They also contain a high level of monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to protect heart health.
They are known for being rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and magnesium. Eating nuts regularly can help lower cholesterol levels and protect against heart disease. Nuts are also high in calories, so eating them as a healthy snack and not as a meal substitute.
Sesame seeds, flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds can be added to various dishes for extra fibre, zinc and calcium content. These seeds contain good fats, which have been shown to improve heart health and protect against various ailments. They can be eaten raw or roasted and added to salads, stir-fries and smoothies.
7. Chia Seeds:
These seeds are rich in antioxidants which eliminate harmful free radicals from the body. This help fights off chronic diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease and even arthritis. Chia seeds can be made into a gel and eaten as it. It also helps to reduce weight and regulate blood sugar levels. They can be consumed in the form of seeds or oil.
8. Avocado Oil:
This is derived from avocados and contains monounsaturated fats, which protect heart health, improve cholesterol levels and benefit weight loss. It is also rich in antioxidant vitamin E, sterols and carotenoids, which are beneficial for your health.
9. Flaxseed Oil:
These contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease when consumed regularly in small doses. It can be used in salad dressings and dips.
10. Whole Grains:
These are known to be the best source of fibre which lowers cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of heart disease. Eating whole grains helps to lose weight, improve blood sugar levels and protect against various chronic diseases. These foods include oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, rye, barley and others.
11. Dark Chocolate:
Consuming dark chocolate frequently can benefit heart health by increasing blood flow to the heart and brain, protecting against free radical damage, and improving arterial function. It also contains antioxidants that help prevent cancer and other diseases. Limit your intake because it is high in calories, sugar and fat content.
It has been shown that eating garlic can reduce the risk of various types of cancer and coronary heart disease. It also protects against inflammation and suppresses microbial growth, which reduces infection-causing illnesses. Garlic should be consumed in small amounts to avoid digestive problems.
13. Sweet Potatoes:
These are a good source of vitamin A, beta-carotene, iron and calcium. They are rich in antioxidants which protect against heart disease by reducing inflammation in the body.
This vegetable is known for its high fibre content, which helps to reduce cholesterol levels when consumed regularly. It also contains detoxifying sulfur compounds, which help to eliminate harmful toxins from the body.
These contain high levels of vitamin C, fibre and phytochemicals, which help prevent various diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease. These fruits are also rich in antioxidants like ellagic acid, which help to fight off free radicals and improve overall health.
Pomegranates contain various types of antioxidants that benefit heart health by preventing cell damage. They also lower blood cholesterol levels and improve artery function.
17. Yerba Mate:
This herbal tea is high in antioxidants that protect the body against radiation, fight off free radicals and protect heart health. The caffeine content in this tea can help boost energy levels and mental alertness.
This leafy vegetable is rich in vitamin K, which helps improve blood circulation and lower the risk of heart disease, arthritis and cancer. It also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which promote healthy eyesight and protect against cataracts. Limit your intake of iceberg lettuce which contains little nutritional value.
19. Red Wine:
Consuming a moderate amount of red wine can improve heart health by increasing good cholesterol and decreasing bad cholesterol levels in the body. It also contains antioxidants known as resveratrol which help protect against cancer, fungi and other diseases.
Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial for heart health, improve cholesterol levels, and help reduce the risk of blood clotting. It also contains astaxanthin which protects against heart disease by reducing inflammation in the body.
Papayas contain high levels of vitamin C, which is known to be good for heart health in that it helps reduce inflammation in the body. Vitamin C boosts immune system health and reduces cancer risk.
Tuna contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which protect against heart disease by improving triglyceride levels, lowering blood pressure, and reducing the risks of arrhythmias. It is also a good source of protein and vitamins A, D, and B12 which help to strengthen the body’s immune system.
The Bottom Line
Thank you for reading this blog post. We hope it helps you make healthier food choices in the future! If you have any questions about anything we discussed, please leave a comment below, and someone will get back to you as soon as possible. Thanks again for your time and happy eating!