Heart disease can totally be prevented, as long as we do the right things and eat the right food. Exercising can help, but so can fixing up your diet, so that you kick the junk and eat more fresh fruit and vegetables. But which foods are best for your heart? Let’s take a look at the best foods for heart health.
This oily fish is one of the best you can have if you want to get serious about your heart. It prevents clotting and helps to lower your blood pressure, which is exactly what you need if your cardiovascular health is to improve. If you eat at least two servings per week, you’ll be doing your heart and yourself a massive favour. Salmon is rich in a powerful antioxidant that is known to be good for our hearts, but it’s important to go for wild salmon if you can. Artificially-raised fish is susceptible to heavy metals and pesticides. Alternatively, if you’re really not keen on salmon you could try the likes of sardines, tuna or herring instead.
Okay, we thought we’d get this one out of the way sooner rather than later, as it’s one of those foods for heart health that cause a lot of people to go “eew. Seriously?” Yes, seriously. Liver might not be to everyone’s taste but if you can stomach it – you should totally give it a chance, because its fats are very heart friendly. Thousands of years ago, our ancestors had no problem eating liver at all and they enjoyed all the benefits that came from it. If you eat meat and care about your heart, what are you waiting for?!
It seems as though everyone is eating avocado these days, from your hipster best friend to your grandma. If you’re still not convinced, know this: Avocado is definitely one of best foods for heart health. Because it’s rich in mono saturated fat (the good kind of fat), avocado is able to reduce your LDL levels, while at the same time boosting the amount of good cholesterol you’ve got inside you. It’s easy to eat, too. Just slice an avocado up and include it with your scrambled eggs or a salad sandwich. Or, you could mash it up and enjoy it on toast or combine it with onions and coriander to make guacamole.
If you want to get healthier, you’ll need to cook with the right oil. Olive oil lowers bad cholesterol in your system, which in turn minimises the risk that you might have of a heart attack, and like avocado, it’s also rich in good fats. Olive oil is popular in the Mediterranean diet, and men in Crete have been found to die less of a heart attack, than men from most other places. This is despite having high cholesterol levels, and one of the reasons for this is that they cook a lot with heart-friendly olive oil.
Who said that best foods for heart health had to be super boring? Dark chocolate is one of your heart’s very best friends. It’s a bit indulgent but it’s oh so good for you. The reason it’s so good for you is due to its flavonoid content, which reduce blood pressure, inflammation and lower the risk of clotting, all of which are good for your heart. Dark chocolate, however, is a bit of an acquired taste. Unfortunately, its more popular sibling, white chocolate, isn’t as heart healthy.
Potatoes have got a bit of a bad reputation for being too starchy and white. But don’t let that put you off because, as long as you don’t deep fry them, potatoes are also one of best foods for heart health. For one thing, potatoes are rich in potassium, an essential nutrient that brings your blood pressure down and stabilises it. Secondly, potatoes are also rich in fibre, which minimises your risk of developing heart disease. So if you’re on the hunt for healthy carbs, try potatoes from now on.
Sharper-looking than potatoes, luscious red tomatoes are just as good for your heart. They’re stuffed with potassium and they also contain lycopene, a key antioxidant that’s tasked with eliminating as much bad cholesterol from your system as possible. Lycopene also helps to keep your blood vessels wide open, which in turn reduces your risk of heart attack. Tomatoes are also a good option because they don’t contain much sugar and are low in calories.
Despite their eye-catching colour, beetroots are often overlooked in the supermarket. There’s really no good reason for this because, as well as adding something different to your dishes, beetroot also contains powerful compounds called nitrites, which once inside your body improve your flow of blood and open your vessels. As such, beetroots are able to lower your arterial stiffness and your blood pressure. Go beets!