In honor of February being Heart Research Month, we have brought you a list of the best evidence based foods for a healthy heart and youthful body-inside out!
Heart disease is the biggest killer in our world today, and dietary influences on mediating the risk of cardiovascular problems are well established. What you eat has a huge impact on how healthy your heart is, especially as you get older.
Walnuts are rich in ALA, which breaks down in your body to form the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Not just that, but they also contain L-arginine, an amino acid that mediates multiple heart disease factors including regulating irregular heartbeats. These benefits have been reported by just eating 15g of walnuts daily.
Oats contain phytochemical compounds which lower LDL cholesterol levels, the main risk factor for heart disease. Having oatmeal for breakfast is also a proven weight-loss promoting morning meal, and being overweight is another major risk factor for heart disease.
You may not have associated chocolate with heart health before, but good quality dark chocolate (70% or above) is packed with nutritious compounds and unique phytochemicals that manage cholesterol levels.
The American Heart Association recommends including whole grains as part of your balanced diet to lower both cholesterol and blood pressure. Brown rice, freekeh, popcorn, oats and whole wheat are all excellent whole grain sources of fiber to add to your shopping list for a healthier heart.
As if we needed any more reason to love avocado’s! They’re a major anti inflammatory food, thus preventing the narrowing of artery walls. They are also an excellent source of vitamin E, which works to keep your heart healthy alongside other vitamins. (Now, excuse us while we go munch on some avocado toast).
Salmon, sardines, mackerel and other oily fish are the superstars of heart healthy foods. Their high content of (DHA and EPA) omega 3 allows them to prevent plaque build up in your arteries and regulate heart beat. The American Heart Association recommends 2 servings of oily fish per week. Don’t like fish? Try-
These little seeds are packed with heart healthy alpha-linoleic acid that translates into omega 3, which helps fight off plaque build up. Clinical studies have shown that a daily portion of flaxseeds can lower cholesterol up to 18%! Additionally, flaxseeds are high in heart healthy fiber. Their high levels of lignans and antioxidants are also thought to prevent heart disease, especially in women who are over the age of 40. Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil are easy to incorporate into meals (think oatmeal, yogurt and salads), smoothies and baking, and pack that extra punch your heart and body need.
Protection against heart disease with pomegranate is achieved due to its high concentration of free radical fighting compounds, such as anthocyanins. Recent research has even shown that a daily dose of pomegranate juice can reverse the progression of heart related diseases.
The beneficial effect beetroot has on blood pressure is well documented and has been proven time and time again. Studies have shown that one glass of beetroot juice a day can significantly lower blood pressure in people with hypertension, including some subjects who were not responsive to blood pressure lowering drugs. This heart healthy food has such powerful properties because it contains an unrivaled concentration of nitrates.
So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and heal your heart with nutrition!