14 Foods That Are Good For Your HeartFebruary 5, 2024
With heart disease being the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women, February is known not only for Valentines Day but also as American Heart Month. Since 1964, American Heart Health Month has put a national spotlight on the seriousness of heart disease and a focus on reminding us of the protective measures we can take to lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Protecting your Heart Health by Embracing a Healthier Lifestyle is Key
The importance of making healthier choices and living a heart-healthy lifestyle cannot be underestimated. Sustaining a healthy weight, refraining from smoking, managing your cholesterol and blood sugar levels, addressing high blood pressure, exercising, and eating a heart-healthy diet are just some of the ways you can help to prevent heart disease.
Diet Plays a Major Role in Heart Health
Your food choices matter! What you put into your body is your fuel. Your food choices play an important role in maintaining optimal health and wellbeing. Remember, it is not always just about calories in and calories out. It is important to think about the health benefits of the foods you eat.
Here Are 14 Foods That Are Good For Your Heart:
High in fiber, minerals and antioxidants, avocados are a nutritious fruit (yes fruit!) packed with monounsaturated fats, known as the healthy fat. Avocados can help to raise your good cholesterol levels and lower your bad levels.
Like other fatty fish, salmon is a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is also rich in the good fats, Omega-3 fatty acids, which reduces the risk of heart disease by helping lower blood triglycerides. Other fatty fish include sardines, mackerel, albacore tuna, and herring.
Eating tomatoes can help reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke. Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C and potassium, and are rich in lycopene, which can help to lower your blood pressure and LDL levels.
Not only can garlic help to lower your blood pressure and control your cholesterol levels, it helps to prevent cell damage. Containing the compound allicin, it also helps to reduce plaque build-up in the arteries.
We have all heard that green tea helps to alleviate stress and anxiety. But did you know that it is also known to help improve blood vessel function and to lower the risk of strokes and heart disease by lowering triglycerides and LDL cholesterol? A daily cup of green tea is recommended.
High in protein, fiber, and antioxidants, nutrient-rich black beans are not only low in fat, they can help to regulate your blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and support heart health. Studies show that eating black beans on a regular basis can also help with weight control and eye health. Legumes of all kinds are heart-healthy foods!
Providing a great source of probiotics (gut-healthy bacteria), Greek yogurt is also rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals and can help to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, lower your blood pressure, and build muscle mass.
In moderation, dark chocolate can help to improve heart health. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, antioxidants, and minerals that can help protect you from heart disease.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Spinach, kale, collard greens and other leafy greens are excellent sources of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that support heart health.
As a plant-based protein, quinoa is high in protein, fiber, and minerals such as copper, magnesium, and phosphorus. It comes widely recommended to help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Antioxidants in red grapes help with the function of platelets, help to relax blood vessels, and reduce inflammation. Red grapes contain resveratrol, which is a compound beneficial for heart health.
The powerhouse of nutrients in broccoli help to boost your immune system. Broccoli has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and fiber-rich properties that support heart health.
Of all the tree nuts, walnuts contain the highest amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is a plant-based form of Omega-3. Providing healthy fats, fiber, magnesium, and various other nutrients, walnuts help to support your heart health.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Research shows that including extra-virgin olive oil in your diet helps to reduce the risk of stroke or heart disease and helps to reduce blood pressure and prevent the hardening of arteries. Olive oil contains antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, and healthy monounsaturated fats, which promote heart health. It also contains beta-carotene and vitamin E, which have additional health benefits.
Your Heart Health Matters
A heart-healthy diet is just one aspect of your health journey, but it plays an important role in preventing heart disease and managing the associated risk factors. Individual dietary needs may vary, so don’t be afraid to reach out to a registered dietitian or healthcare provider for guidance. Undergoing regular check ups is essential to your health and wellbeing. Remember, investing time and effort in your health is worth it– YOU are truly worth it!.
Tammy J. Colter is an OH staff writer and has proudly served the ObesityHelp community since 1999.
ABOUT THE AUTHORTammy J. Colter is an OH staff writer and has proudly served the ObesityHelp community since 1999, helping members and professionals alike. Tammy wears many hats at ObesityHelp, she works as an author, editor, and account manager. Read more articles by Tammy!