Heart diseases are one of the most common ailments worldwide with thousands of people losing their lives due to various heart related problems every year. More so,these diseases are becoming increasingly common in the younger generation. Therefore it is extremely important that you opt for regular exercise, a healthy diet and an active lifestyle so as to keep your heart healthy and strong. Having a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and cutting down on refined and processed foods has been shown to reduce the risk of heart diseases. Here are some delicious heart healthy foods that you must add to your diet:
1 . Dark Chocolate
This one is especially for the chocolate lovers. But wait! It’s dark chocolate and not milk chocolate or any other sugary candy. The best source of antioxidants is the cocoa plant. Chocolates that contain 60-70% cocoa are beneficial for your heart. They are a source of flavanols which lower the blood pressure and bad cholesterol. You can have it almost every day, but keep it up to 10 grams per day.
2 . Oatmeal
The presence of a fiber called beta glucan makes oatmeal act like a sponge. Oatmeal soaks the bad cholesterol and hence prevents its accumulation in the bloodstream. Beta glucan is also present in barley. Have a cup of oatmeal or cooked barley daily and you will surely see the cholesterol reading dipping in the next visit to the doctor.
3 . Fish
Fish with high levels of omega 3 fatty acids are very good for the hear. These include salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel. Omega 3 fatty-acid has anti clogging effect, which means they keep the blood flowing without clogging the arteries. Have 2 servings of any of them in a week and you will see a decrease in bad cholesterol and elevation in good cholesterol over a period.
4 . Berries
Berries contain anthocyanin which reduces blood pressure. Have three servings of berries such as blueberry or strawberry in a week to lower the risk of heart diseases. You will surely see an increase in good cholesterol in a months’ time.
5 . Walnuts
Walnuts are a storehouse of good fat, housing around 47% good fat. They are also a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid and omega 3 fatty acids which are excellent for heart health. Try to munch 50 grams of these nuts in a day.Make sure you have unsalted and unprocessed ones.
6 . Potatoes
Potatoes are rich in potassium(especially their skin) and are low on sodium. Potassium regulates blood pressure.They are also high in fiber thereby reducing risk of heart disease. Potatoes are a very rich source of vitamin C, which prevents the damage done by cholesterol on arteries. You should add potatoes to your diet, but make sure they are not fried.
7 . Green Leafy Vegetables
Leafy vegetables have plenty to offer in terms of nutrition. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, radish leaves are low in fat, and high in fiber. They also contain minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium which are helpful for proper functioning of the heart. Have one serving of green vegetables every day in your lunch or dinner.
8 . Apples
Apple prevents formation of blood clots owing to its anti-inflammatory property. Having an apple daily reduces the risk of heart disease by nearly 50%. The presence of anti-oxidants in the apple lowers the oxidation of bad cholesterol. Higher the level of oxidized cholesterol, higher the chances of developing a heart ailment. Try to eat an apple daily either in breakfast or whenever you’re hungry.
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Adding the above mentioned foods to your diet will significantly help you in keeping your heart healthy. This should be coupled with regular exercise and a healthy diet for best results. Stay Healthy, Stay Happy!