In my previous article, I wrote about heart diseases, the cause, types, symptoms and treatments; this article is a continuation and we will be looking at super foods that support a healthy heart, prevent heart diseases, help the heart to function properly and help heart disease patients manage the symptoms and heal quickly.
We already know the importance of the human heart and how many biological and metabolic activities in the body will crumble when the heart is not functioning properly, cardiac arrest can result when the heart skips one or more beats and death can occur when the heart stops functioning at all.
Prevention and management of heart diseases include regular intake of healthy foods; in fact healthy eating should become a way of life if one hopes to prevent heart disease or recover from heart disease. Poor eating leading to malnutrition can cause heart disease but eating healthy foods can prevent and reverse it. Remember that heart disease is the number killer disease on the planet.
Eating this super foods in their natural forms, as they come from the ground will help heart disease patients recover fast and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease for those who don’t have. Avoid processed and over-processed versions of these foods, eat them whole.
Fish: Eat fishes that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, examples are salmons, sardines, tuna, mackerels, herring, trout, etc. The fatty acids in this fish can lower the risk of arrhythmia (irregular heart beat), reduce the buildup of plaques in the arteries (atherosclerosis), reduce blood pressure, blood clot and decrease the levels of triacylglycerides while increasing the levels of high density lipoprotein cholesterol at the same time. Try to eat fatty fish twice a week.
Extra virgin olive oil: This powerful oil reduces the risks of heart attacks, strokes and death by 30%. It is a very good source of monounsaturated fats which reduce high cholesterol and high sugar levels in the blood.
Broccoli: Fresh organic broccoli is a wonderful heart food; it contains huge number of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fiber that protects the heart and support normal functioning of the heart.
Green tea: Taking four cups of green tea daily helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 20%. It contains an antioxidant Catechins which is responsible for this.
Coffee: Moderate intake of coffee reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke by 30% but it is not advised to overtake it.
Nuts: Walnuts, peanuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios and Almonds are healthy nuts that help the heart to function well. They contain fibers, Vitamin E which lowers bad cholesterol, they are high in omega-3 fatty acids (walnuts especially) and cut the risk of heart diseases. Don’t take salted nuts. Almonds reduce LDL and fatal arrhythmias and increase HDL.
70% dark chocolates: This is very good for the heart; it reduces the risks of nonfatal heart attacks and stroke, they also contain polyphenols which are flavonoids that helps to normalize blood pressure, prevent inflammation and blood clotting and make the blood vessels flexible.
Berries: These are packed with powerful phytonutrients, soluble fiber, vitamins and minerals that boost healthy functioning of the heart, protect it from diseases and reduce the risk of heart attack. Take lots of blueberries, strawberries, cranberries and raspberries, they are very rich in Anthocyanins, a flavonoid that dilate blood vessels and decrease blood pressure.
Potatoes: As long as they are not deep fried, they are very good for the heart. They contain good amount of potassium that helps to lower blood pressure, they are high in fibers that cuts the risk of heart disease.
Tomatoes: They contain high quantity of lycopene, vitamin C and beta-carotene which are all good for the heart. Even the sun dried ones are beneficial to the heart. Lycopene gets rid of bad cholesterol; they dilate the blood vessels and lower the risk of heart attack. They are high in potassium.
Flaxseeds and chia seeds: These contain phytoestrogen, fibers and omega-3 fatty acids to boost normal functioning of the heart. They are also very high in fiber. You can add them to meals or smoothies.
Asparagus: There are loaded with powerful nutrients like beta-carotene, fiber, folate and very low calories.
Oatmeal: This is a powerhouse of heart friendly nutrients. It is high in soluble fiber which can lower cholesterol and eliminate it from the body and bloodstream; in the digestive tract it acts like a sponge and soaks up the cholesterol. Go for old fashioned and quick cooking oats; avoid instant oatmeal that contains sugar.
Fruits: Fruits like oranges, papaya, cantaloupes; they are rich in fiber, beta-carotene, magnesium, potassium. Citrus fruits like grapes and oranges have good amount of flavonoids that that can cut the risk of ischemic strokes by 19% (Ischemic stroke is caused by blood clot). Fruits especially citrus fruits are very high in vitamin C and it lowers the risk of heart disease, cholesterol and heart failure. Take fruits in their pure form, avoid processed fruit juices with sugar; you can make yours at home. Avocado like olive oil has mono unsaturated fats that lower the risk of heart disease; it reduces cholesterol and is also rich in potassium. Pomegranates contain numerous antioxidants that prevent hardening of the arteries and increase the circulation of blood in the body, apples do the same too, apples contain pectin which blocks absorption of LDL cholesterol and eliminates it from the body. Eat lots of fruits every day.
Garlic: Garlic reduces blood pressure and stops the formation of plaque in the blood vessels which is the major cause of coronary heart disease. It also breaks down an enzyme Angiotensin which helps to constrict blood vessels.
Dark beans: Dark beans like kidney beans and black beans are high in vitamins, minerals and fibers which are good for the heart.
Vegetables: Dark green leafy vegetables are wonderful for the heart, regular intake of spinach strengthens the heart and they are packed with vitamins, minerals, fibers and carotenoids. They give extra boost to the heart and they free the body from harmful compounds. Kale, spinach and broccoli are very good for the heart. You can make smoothies with them and add them to your meals. Kales prevent atherosclerosis, they contain a unique compound Glucoraphanin; this compound creates a coating in your arteries and this prevents plaque from sticking themselves to the walls of the arteries.
Red wine: Red wine increases the levels of good cholesterol HDL (high density lipoprotein), stops unwanted blood clotting and cut the risk for heart disease. Red wine contains a polyphenol called Resveratrol that is beneficial to the heart; this compound can also be found in grapes and peanut butter. Do not consume excessive alcohol as it leads to heart disease and cancer. It contains other polyphenols that keeps the blood vessels flexible.
Organic low fat yogurt: This yogurt is rich in calcium and potassium; it controls high blood pressure. It is also a good source of probiotics which can help fight infection and protect the heart.
Soy: Soy and soy products like soy milk and tofu are very good for the heart, they are good sources of protein and they contain polyunsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals, fibers. They reduce blood pressure and reduce the levels of bad cholesterol LDL (Low density lipoprotein). Soy milk contains isoflavones which is powerful in reducing cholesterol.
Legumes: Legumes like beans, lentils and peas lower the risk of heart disease reduce blood sugar and they are excellent source of protein. Lentils reduce blood pressure and they are very high in potassium, magnesium and folate.