While all the organs of your body are important and require you to take care of them, caring for your heart should top the list. Why? Because your heart works relentlessly to transport oxygen and nutrients to all other parts of your body so they can function as intended! And taking care of your heart is pretty simple; you just need to exercise regularly and eat healthy!
Often, people prefer junk food over healthy options because the latter is expensive. However, eating healthy doesn’t always have to be costly.
If you live on a budget, here are some cheap heart healthy vegetables that you can include in your everyday meals. A couple of them aren’t cheap- but you can most definitely feast on them a couple of times a month without busting your budget!
- The presence of homocysteine – an amino acid – in large amounts in the body has been linked to heart disease. Asparagus contains a high concentration of vitamin B complex that helps regulate the amount of homocysteine in the body.
- Asparagus contains the amino acid asparagine which helps the body flush out excess salts.
- One cup of asparagus has over a gram of soluble fiber. Fiber-rich foods help lower the risk of heart disease by eliminating LDL or bad cholesterol from arteries and blood vessels.
Popeye didn’t eat spinach for nothing! Apart from preventing cancer, managing diabetes, promoting bone health, and keeping hair and skin healthy, this green leafy vegetable also protects your heart.
- Spinach is rich in potassium and magnesium, and can help lower blood pressure by negating the effects of excess sodium in the body.
- Antioxidants vitamin C and beta-carotene prevent the buildup of oxidized cholesterol inside blood vessels.
- Folate, vitamin B6, and betaine found in spinach regulate homocysteine levels in the body.
Yes, you read that right; potatoes are a heart-healthy food if you don’t deep-fry them all the time! Also, refrain from pairing potatoes with high-fat toppings and you’ll have a snack or meal that’s free of cholesterol and saturated fat. The tuber’s skin is usually where all the goodness is concentrated, so don’t discard the peels.
- Potatoes are rich in potassium and low in sodium, thereby reducing the risk of stroke and high blood pressure.
- Vitamins B6 and C in potatoes protect the heart and arteries from the negative effects of cholesterol.
- Dietary fiber in potatoes improves blood lipid levels and regulates blood glucose levels.
This dark green leafy vegetable is a powerhouse of nutrients and rightly known as a super food. Add kale to your salads, make kale smoothies, or bake kale chips- with zero fat content and only 36 calories per cup, you needn’t worry about how much kale you’re eating!
- Kale is rich in potassium, which has vasodilation effects on the body and helps lower blood pressure. Eating potassium-rich foods like kale can also lower the risk of death from ischemic heart disease and other health conditions, reduce the risk of stroke, and prevent loss of muscle mass.
- Vitamins B6 and C, and fiber found in kale support healthy functioning of the heart.
Carrots can be eaten raw with dips or added to soups and stews to up the nutritional value. Drinking fresh carrot juice also has immense health benefits like improved vision, immune system, digestion, and oral health, and reduced signs of premature ageing.
- Being rich sources of potassium, carrots can dilate arteries and blood vessels and reduce stress on the cardiovascular system by increasing blood flow and circulation. This further reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis.
- The coumarin found in carrots reduces hypertension and protects the heart.
- Beta-carotene present in carrots get converted to vitamin A in the liver. Vitamin A fights heart disease by preventing hypertrophy (harmful thickening of the ventricular walls) and suppressing remodeling of the heart tissue during stress.
Bell peppers come in various colors and can taste sweet, tangy, or spicy. Coupled with their crunchy texture, they are perfect for soups, pastas, sandwiches, and a lot of other dishes. While all bell peppers are nutritious, green ones are not as nutritious as yellow or red ones. That’s because green bell peppers are harvested before they get to turn yellow or red on the vine!
- Bell peppers are rich sources of vitamin C that can lower the risk of coronary heart disease. Vitamin C also prevents cholesterol buildup and lowers inflammation in arteries that could lead to heart disease.
- Beta-carotene, folic acid, vitamin B6, and fiber present in bell peppers can help reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.
- Capsaicin in bell peppers reduces the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood.
This cruciferous vegetable offers a wealth of health benefits including preventing osteoarthritis, reducing the risk of cancer, and improving the functioning of the kidneys, apart from boosting heart health.
- Broccoli contains a chemical called sulforaphane that lowers blood pressure and encourages the production of certain enzymes that protect blood vessels.
- Being rich in soluble fiber, broccoli can help lower cholesterol levels in the blood.
- This vegetable also contains vitamin B complex that reduces the risk of coronary heart disease by regulating homocysteine levels in the body.
Now that you know about these vegetables, start taking care of your heart by eating healthy right away!
Korie Cantor is a blogger who has been working as a freelance writer for a long time and also writes regular articles for Freebies. She possesses a great sense of style and loves to share her thoughts about fashion and latest trends.