Your heart is arguably your most important organ, after your brain. Making sure that it’s operating at its optimal level is key to a life of health and longevity. Perhaps you know which foods are bad for your heart, like fried foods, and maybe you know that certain lifestyle habits like being sedentary or smoking are bad for your heart. But maybe you’re still a bit unclear as to which foods can help your heart. We’ve gathered our list of some of the best foods you should be eating for heart health, so be sure to make at least some of them a part of your daily diet plan.
Almonds provide healthy fats that can help you lose body fat, and also help your heart by lowering your bad cholesterol levels. But it’s not just limited to almonds, many other nuts also provide the same benefit, including walnuts and hazelnuts. The one thing you want to keep in mind here is that you don’t want to gorge on them. Grab a handful of almonds and that’s roughly a serving size, portioned just for you. That makes a great snack that’s not only good for your heart, but will also give you enough energy to propel you through your day for a few hours.
Asparagus is one of those amazing vegetables that has a lot of healthy benefits. One of its key features is its high amount of Vitamin B family vitamins. This goes a long way towards your heart health because these vitamins are great at counteracting the effects of certain amino acids that can leave you susceptible to things like heart attacks and strokes. They’re also a good source of fiber, and studies have shown that getting the right amount of fiber has a correlation to greater amounts of heart health. Asparagus is also teeming with antioxidants, which are known to help with everything from heart disease to cancer, so there’s plenty of reasons to eat it more often.
As part of a heart healthy diet you’ll want to limit the amount of saturated fat to a minimum. This is the kind of fat that is found in cheeseburgers and fried chicken. But you want to be careful not to exclude foods that are high in healthy fats from your diet. That’s because healthy fats, as the name implies, are good for you and can bring great benefits with them. The monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fat content in avocado will help your body maintain good cholesterol levels. They’re also high in fiber and potassium, so you’re getting plenty of benefits from one tasty fruit.
Beans get a lot of things right when it comes to giving yourself the best chance at a healthy heart. They are rich in B Vitamins, and they have plenty of important minerals like magnesium, folate, and niacin, all important for heart function. Some types of beans also have omega-3 in them, which has proven anti-inflammatory benefits. There is also a good amount of soluble fiber, which has been repeatedly linked to having plenty of benefits to the body, especially to the heart. It’s very easy to incorporate beans into your diet, as they make a great side dish with just about anything.
5. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are a great way to give your heart health a boost, and because all of the different colors of peppers help in their own way you can switch it up. The bright colors of orange, yellow, and red bell peppers mean they have phytonutrients in them and additional antioxidants to make sure that your body can battle back free radical damage. Grilling peppers is perhaps the best way to cook them to preserve their nutrients, but you can also eat them raw, or lightly saute them on a frying pan.
If you’ve been looking for a delicious way to be good to your heart, look no further than blueberries. Blueberries have a leg up on other berries because their dark blue color provides specific antioxidants that are good for you heart. Be careful though because plenty of food products out there use blueberries because of its delicious flavor, but are not healthy for you because of all of the added sugar and fat. Use fresh organic blueberries whenever possible, and eat them fresh or in a smoothie for best results.
Helping the body to detox is one way to keep your heart healthy. It may not seem like it but all of your organs work in conjunction with each other. Keeping your liver and colon clean is a way to help out your heart. Broccoli contains plenty of anti-inflammatory benefits, plus a good amount of fiber to help keep you regular and keep your internal organs functioning properly. The added benefit is that broccoli contains both insoluble and soluble fiber, roughly half and half, so you can be sure that you’re getting both kinds covered with one food item.
Cantaloupe has been shown to be an anti-inflammatory food, and there is an apparent link between high amounts of inflammation and heart disease of all types. The nice byproduct of cantaloupe is that it’s supposed to boost your metabolism, which will help you get to, or maintain, a healthy weight. Being at a healthy weight is a great way to make sure that your heart is not working harder than it has to in order to do its job. Cantaloupe tastes great, so it’s easy to eat a lot of it quickly, but be sure to limit yourself due to the sugar it contains.
9. Dark Chocolate
For a long time chocolate got the ax when it came to healthy foods, but that was before the distinction was made between dark chocolate and milk chocolate. Dark chocolate has antioxidants that milk chocolate just doesn’t have. It also has a lot less sugar and dairy in it than milk chocolate, so it’s given the green light in moderation and as part of an overall healthy diet. Try to buy your dark chocolate as pure as you can tolerate so that you are getting fewer additives, and more of the good stuff.
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