In many countries, including in the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death. There are many different forms of heart disease. Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease in which the arteries that nourish the heart become narrowed and unable to supply enough blood and oxygen to the heart muscle. It happens slowly over time and can lead to a heart attack. Other problems can also affect the heart, including congenital defects (physical abnormalities that are present at birth), malfunction of the heart valves, and abnormal heart rhythms.
You can reduce the risk of heart disease by getting regular exercise, controlling your blood pressure, lowering your cholesterol, not smoking, and controlling stress. Maintaining a healthy diet is also vital in keeping your heart healthy. Foods with high saturated fats or trans fat can increase your cholesterol levels. Instead, you should consume foods that are rich in unsaturated fats that help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol while also boosting HDL (good) cholesterol. .
Here are foods that can keep your heart healthy:
- Blueberry is one of the most powerful disease-fighting foods. It is low in calories and high in antioxidants. It can help reduce the risk factors of cardiovascular disease.
- Salmon is known as an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids that can help you maintain the healthy levels of blood cholesterol and blood pressure. These good fats protect your heart by controlling blood clotting and preventing the buildup of plaque in the arteries to your heart.
- Olive oil has the same health benefits as salmon. Olive oil is also rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) that can help lower the risk of coronary heart disease by improving related risk factors.
- Oats are a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Oats contain soluble fiber called beta glucan that helps reduce bad cholesterol levels and keep your digestive system healthy.
- Soy protein is an excellent protein substitute for red meat, which will reduce your saturated fat intake. Soy foods contain high levels of polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Consuming soy protein can help eliminate the risk factors of cardiovascular disease and keep your heart healthy.
- Apple has been linked to heart health. A study found that eating apples daily can help lower cholesterol levels. Apple contains phytonutrients or phytochemicals (compounds found in plants) which act as antixiodents against LDL (bad cholesterol). Apple also contains a phytochemical called quercetin which acts as a natural anti-inflammatory agent and may help prevent blood clots.
- Tomato has been associated with a reduced heart disease risk factors. Fresh tomatoes and tomato extracts may help lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
- Whole grains are good sources of fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients that contribute to heart health. Regular consumption of whole grains can also reduce blood pressure.
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach, lettuce, radish leaves, etc. are known to reduce the risk of heart disease. They are high in dietary fiber and contain important minerals that are vital for the optimum functioning of the heart.
- Almonds contain dietary fiber, manganese, magnesium, potassium, and monounsaturated fats. Research showed that increasing your consumption of almonds may help improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels.