It is no secret that one way to improve your well-being is by infusing healthy foods into your nutritional plan. Regardless of whether you wish to lessen your risk of heart diseases or simply want to eat healthier, there is a superfood out there for you. For your convenience, we have compiled some of the greatest items that will kickstart a diet that is good for the heart. Obviously, it would be even better if you can enjoy more than one item from this list, but it’s good to start somewhere! Read on to learn what items should be included on your next trip to the grocery store.
Who doesn’t like oranges? This citrus fruit is the best way to start your new diet! It is full of nutrients, fiber, and vitamin C. Apart from these, it is packed with high pectin levels, which makes it useful when it comes to absorbing cholesterol. Did we mention that it also contains potassium, making it great at lowering sodium intake and blood pressure? It also has the ability to neutralize the proteins that can lead to heart failure or heart scar tissue.
Kale is actually a cabbage family member that is among the heartiest in the bunch.
This leafy green vegetable is excellent for heart conditions.
It is true that kale might be a little harder to find, though the benefits will make your effort worth it. Kale has earned a reputation as good for the heart thanks to its fiber, omega-3, and antioxidant content. Feel free to add it to just about anything since it is low in calories and fat as well!
We are sure you have heard that garlic can be used to repel vampires. However, are you aware that it also comes with several heart-boosting qualities? Aside from adding flavor to your food, garlic also reduces enzymes that can potentially constrict blood vessels, lowers artery plaque levels, and decreases blood pressure. If you’re not a fan of the taste, you can also take it as a pill. In fact, doing so has reduced plaque in the arteries up to 50%!
Are you surprised to find this item on the list? You read that right – red wine can do more than just help you unwind after a stressful day. If you’re wondering why, you will be glad to learn that red wine can improve an individual’s HDL levels and prevent the build-up of cholesterol in the body. Moreover, it offers many anti-oxidants, prevents coronary heart disease, and reduces blood clots. Of course, just remember to consume it in moderation! It’s not as if we needed any more encouragement in the first place…
Up next, we have yet another delicious but surprising treat on our list. Chocolate is adored by just about everyone, though you might be surprised to hear that it can do wonders for the heart. A Harvard research has actually shown that individuals who consume raw cocoa on a regular basis have lower blood pressure levels and no indications of hypertension problems. Dark chocolate, in particular, boasts of antioxidants named flavonols so it is a good idea to eat it in moderation. Doing so will boost the flexibility of your blood vessels, decrease your blood pressure, and basically improve your cardiovascular health.
We’re personally big fans of sardines, but we understand that not everyone is. If you are concerned about improving your cardiovascular health, it might be time to start getting cans from the store! Sardines have plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which can then decrease the amount of triglyceride, reduce inflammation, increase the HDL levels, and reduce the likelihood of getting heart disease.
One of the main concerns of people switching to plant-based diets is the source of protein. Luckily, legumes like lentils exist! Feel free to add it to your dishes, especially once you find out that people who regularly consume it are at less risk of contracting strokes and heart diseases. Aside from protein, lentils also come with high amounts of potassium and magnesium. Studies have shown that lentils help decrease blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels, and decrease blood vessel plaque build-up.
Almonds might just be our personal favorite among the members of the nut family! Delicious taste aside, did you know that almonds contain various nutrients that are beneficial to your intelligence, memory, and cardiovascular health? There is no need to feel guilty when you go grab a handful every now and then! Aside from the things listed above, you should also know that almonds reduce cholesterol levels, lower LDL absorption levels, and decrease the chances of developing diabetes.
Pomegranates are definitely up there when you ask us about our list of favorite fruits! They are great for smoothies and salads. Aside from their appealing taste, pomegranates also offer the benefit of prevention of heart diseases and plaque oxidation in the artery walls. Apart from cardiovascular issues, it also aids in the prevention of prostate cancer, diabetes, strokes, and Alzheimer’s. As if it isn’t impressive enough just yet, studies have revealed that the fruit can do wonders for one’s joints, teeth, liver, and skin.
Are you aware that blueberries are packed with a lot of antioxidants and nutrients? Research says that this superfood can do wonders for your health when you consume three servings every week! It has been found to reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, and arterial plaque build-up! This delicious fruit is also great at eliminating carcinogens as well as factors that contribute to the likelihood of developing heart disease.
The eye-catching roots make for a crunchy, colorful, and tasty addition to dishes, but did you know that beets are also full of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins? Case in point, they have betaine and B-vitamin folate. Apart from these, they can also reduce the levels of homocysteine, decrease the chances of heart disease, improve organ health, and fight off illnesses like cancer! Beets are a true superfood if you ask us.
Salmon is probably the most universally-loved fish out there! You can take it raw, seared, grilled, or even fried. It has been called ‘the chicken of the sea’ for a reason. Interestingly, however, it boasts of nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids. It is a good addition to your diet as it can prevent blood clots, heart diseases, blood vessels constrictions, and high levels of triglycerides.
Turmeric is the golden herb that you definitely need if you plan on cooking up a great batch of curry. However, are you also aware that this spice possesses great medicinal value? In fact, its use dates back to centuries and it has only become popular in the west fairly recently. Studies have revealed that turmeric comes with the active compound curcumin that helps prevent cardiac hypertrophy also known as the enlargement of the heart. Apart from that, turmeric also prevents high blood pressure, dysfunctional blood vessels, obesity, and heart diseases.
Have you ever tried to use chia seeds in your smoothie or fruit bowl? If you haven’t yet, it might be time to hop on the trend! Chia seeds are superfoods naturally rich in protein, nutrients, antioxidants, fiber, and omega-3. Interestingly, chia also comes with low-calorie content, making it a great choice to reduce cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular diseases.
We adore the fact that an apple a day can truly help keep the doctor away. It goes without saying that it is on the list for the cardiovascular benefits the fruit possesses. Apples come with antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that lower blood pressure and reduce the chances of developing heart diseases. Not to mention the fact that there are plenty of available varieties – feel free to choose the flavor, health benefits, and color you want!
The way to a millennial’s heart is through the stomach, particularly with avocados! It is great as a toast topping, dip, and salad filler. We bet you have already heard that there are cafes dedicated solely to the superfood! Perhaps you have even gone to one already. It wouldn’t be anything to be ashamed about as avocados boast of high potassium, antioxidant, and monounsaturated fat content. All of these efficiently lower your risk of contracting heart diseases.
What’s your favorite method of consuming eggplant? Regardless of whether you preferred it grilled, friend, and baked, you should know that this purple superfood is rich in antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, flavonoids, and nasunim. Uh-huh, that means regular consumption will lead to improved circulation, reduced cholesterol, and lowered risk of heart conditions. Moreover, eggplants are excellent brain food that can help prevent the development of cancer and damaged cell membranes.
Were you the type of kid who absolutely detested broccoli when you were younger? We hope things have changed over the years since these greens can do wonders for your health! It doesn’t matter if you loved it or hated it as a child, what’s important now is that you find ways to incorporate it into your diet as it can help reduce your cholesterol levels and make your blood vessels stronger. Apart from these, broccoli contains the anti-inflammatory sulforaphane, which prevents chronic blood sugar issues.
Carrots have more benefits aside from serving as a crunchy treat and improving the quality of your eyesight. Did you know that carrots are also excellent for your heart health? It’s true! These orange treats come with high amounts of the antioxidant carotenoid that fights free radicals and ultimately reduce the risk of heart diseases. Carrots have plenty of nutrients and vitamins A, C, and K. Aside from the aforementioned benefits, you should also know that they do wonders for your bone and nervous system health.
Chicken is a popular meat of choice for many reasons. First, let us talk about how versatile poultry is. You can stir-fry, grill, or bake it as you wish! Next, chicken is not red meat. Instead, it is lean meat and comes with less cholesterol and saturated fat than the alternative. It is ultimately better for your cardiovascular health and it is a great source of protein for people concerned about their health.
The legumes called chickpeas can be enjoyed in a variety of forms. You can blend, season, and mash it – or perhaps you would prefer it as hummus? Regardless, they are all great choices since chickpea is full of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, and potassium. In simpler words, it can decrease the cholesterol in your body and improve your cardiovascular health.
Are you like us in the sense that a cup of Joe is necessary for a productive day? Luckily, you don’t need to completely cut out coffee if you are concerned about your heart health. Research has actually revealed that consuming coffee in moderation will lessen the likelihood of developing stroke, coronary heart disease, and heart failure.
You can enjoy cranberries on their own, as a juice, or with baked goods. Regardless, you will get a dose of various antioxidants and nutrients with every serving. It goes without saying that cranberries are on the list since they reduce your risk of heart disease with every intake. Aside from this, they are also great at the prevention of urinary tract infections, gum disease, stomach ulcers, and cancer.
Figs are, for some reason, incredibly underrated when talking about fruit snacks. For some reason, more people seem interested in raisins and dates! Regardless, you should know that figs are wonderful sources of nutrition for your heart health. You have plenty of options on how to consume it and each one will come with a great dose of fiber and calcium.
Flax seeds are great sources of the good kind of fats, the omega-3 essential fatty acids. If you do not like nuts or fish, you can get these nutrients from flax seeds. Feel free to add them to your fruit smoothies or salads as desired! Take comfort in the fact that each tablespoon will be full of estrogen, antioxidants, and nutrition.
Red Hot Chilli Peppers
While we adore Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, we would like to redirect your attention to the real red hot chili peppers. We’re talking about the vegetables that come with capsaicin, of course. Capsaicin is effective when it comes to lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. However, make sure not to eat a whole pepper in one go! We hope that the guy in the photo is okay…
Did you know that ginger goes well with sushi? Be sure to try this combination out the next time you find yourself in a Japanese joint! Anyway, the spice actually comes with various benefits for your heart. Apparently, regular consumption of ginger reduces high blood pressure and the chances of getting coronary heart disease. The more you know!
We love grapefruits, primarily because they exude refreshment like nothing else! However, it would be a disservice to simply ignore its nutritional value. The fruit is full of vitamin C, choline, lycopene, potassium, and fiber. As a testament to how good it is for your heart, we will have you know that it has a solid spot on the DASH diet, a regimen specifically formulated to decrease blood pressure levels.
Are you a fan of green teas? If the answer is ‘no’, we have some facts that might make you change your mind. Meanwhile, if the answer is ‘yes’, you’ll definitely be pleased to hear that it is full of antioxidants that prevent arterial plaque buildup, reduce LDL cholesterol, and decrease triglycerides in the body. Your heart will definitely thank you if you drink it regularly!
Stews and soups will not be complete if there are no kidney beans in them! These dark red legumes are wonderful for your heart, memory, and general wellbeing. It is low in fat, but high in fiber, vitamins, and various minerals. Kidney beans are terrific at reducing homocysteine. Regular consumption will also lower your chances of suffering from strokes, cancer, diabetes, peripheral vascular diseases, and heart attacks.
We know that it will be easy to dislike kiwis if you only judge it based on its cover. However, peel away the furry shell and you will be blessed with its excellent nutritional offerings. This green fruit actually boasts of polyphenols, potassium, magnesium, copper, and various vitamins. If you’re not sure what to make of this, just know that kiwis protect your cardiovascular system, lessen blood clots, and improve your heart health.
The next item on our list is yet another incredible legumes – lentils, of course. They are loaded with folic acid, fiber, magnesium, vitamins, and plenty of potassium! Interestingly, they actually offer more potassium than a banana does. Aside from these incredible facts, did you know that lentils can improve your dish or soup? If you’re not convinced that it is great for your cardiovascular health, we’ll have you know that it was recommended by the DASH diet, a nutritional regimen with the goal to decrease blood pressure.
Mackerel is a great alternative if you are getting a little sick of eating tuna and salmon! We particularly like it with our salad, but whatever floats your boat! This is an oily fish rich in omega-3, minerals, and antioxidants. Aside from protecting regular consumers from heart diseases, it also reduces one’s risk of contracting cancer.
Going nuts is not always a bad thing! Regardless of what your favorite nuts are, you will definitely enjoy a solid dose of unsaturated fatty acids as well as wholesome nutrients with every serving. A handful of walnuts, almonds, and cashews make for a great snack as it will decrease your cholesterol level and promote heart health.
One of the best things about oatmeal is how versatile it is. You can top it with a fruit of your choice, pick a flavor you like, and eat it with whatever dairy product you prefer. Aside from its taste, it also boasts of excellent nutritional properties. Did you know that it is rich in fiber and low in GI, making it perfect for weight-watchers and diabetics? Moreover, oatmeal can help decrease cholesterol levels and clear out the arteries!
Yes, we have previously discussed several specific beans, though we daresay beans deserve an individual spot of their own. Beans make up a huge chunk of the legume family together with lentils, peanuts, green beans, peas, and soybeans. They are generally rich in protein, low in fat, and high in fiber. Oh, and did we mention that they come with many phytochemicals that lessens your risk of contracting heart diseases?
In certain ways, pears are just like their cousin, apples. Case in point: they are both crunchy edible fruits that come with a huge helping of antioxidants, fiber, and nutrients. Not convinced? You should also know that they can reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and your risk of contracting heart diseases.
Do you enjoy grilled asparagus? If your answer to that question is ‘yes’, we bet you would love them even more when they are wrapped in bacon! Regardless, we bet you are not aware of how nutritious this vegetable is. It actually comes with a lot of fiber, nutrients, minerals, folate, and a variety of vitamins. These components make it ideal for enhancing your insulin levels, reducing blood pressure, and protecting you from heart diseases.
Quinoa might just be the epitome of what a superfood is! Aside from the fact that will immediately improve any this, it also contains almost twice the amount of fiber than the other members of the grain family. Oh, and let us not forget that it has many minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids. Other benefits include aiding weight loss, promoting cholesterol and blood sugar levels, lowering blood pressure, and improving cardiovascular health.
Spinach was said to be the source of a certain cartoon character’s superpowers, though it might not be that far-fetched! Did you know that taking half a cup of this leafy greens will already provide 5 times the vitamin K dose you need? Spinach makes for an excellent pasta topping or salad base, though don’t forget that it is also a great source of folate, fiber, lutein, and potassium. Overall, it can improve your heart health, protect your from cardiovascular conditions, improve your bones, and prevent blood clots.
We’ve discussed various fruits and we have to say that strawberries hold a special spot in our hearts! These low-calorie fruits are full of nutrients, minerals, and vitamin C. Apart from adding a dose of sweetness to all of your meals, they also have the ability to improve heart health by widening arteries and preventing the build-up of plaque.
Sweet potatoes are excellent for many reasons. For example, are you aware that this member of the potato family is full of potassium? This quality makes it great at lowering blood pressure as it maintains fluid balance in the body. Of course, it also helps regulate any individual’s heartbeat. Apart from these, it is highly versatile and perfectly pairs with practically every dish! Can you believe that some people even like to put it in pasta and pizza?
We all know that walnuts are great toppings for salad as well as excellent as snacks on its own. However, you probably don’t know that they are a great source of ALA, an omega-3 fatty acid. Generally, walnuts are effective at improving cholesterol levels, reducing blood pressure, and maintaining your heart health.
We can’t think of a fruit that is more summery than watermelons! Ideally enjoyed by the sea or pool, this is a fruit that is mainly made of water so you can rest assured it will leave you hydrated. Apart from this, it also comes with potassium, magnesium, and various vitamins. It’s on the list because it lowers your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Bananas are the best if you are on the lookout for a fantastic smoothie base or a topping for your oatmeal. These yellow superfruit champs are packed with potassium, fiber, and protein. Bananas can help your muscles contract, your nerve cells to respond, and even lose weight! That’s right, its fibers and starch will help you shed weight, contrary to the rumors that report the opposite. When it comes to heart health, they can help you lower blood pressure and maintain a regular heartbeat.
Do you think that there is any correlation between the fact that the Mediterranean gastronomy is one of the healthiest cuisines in the world and the amount of olive oil used by chefs? After all, anyone who loves Mediterranean food knows that it is a vital ingredient in just about every meal! Olive oil adds a great flavor to dishes and it is also full of monounsaturated fat. Apart from this, it also prevents blood clots, regulates blood sugar, and reduces cholesterol levels.
In recent years, soy has earned a cult status among health buffs, vegetarians, and vegans who want an alternative to meat and dairy items. Nowadays, you will find sections of the supermarket dedicated to such products. Coffee drinkers and dairy consumers have also turned to soy milk! It’s no wonder why – after all, soy has plenty of fiber, protein, and omega-3s that make it good for your heart. Among other things, it helps lower an individual’s LDL cholesterol.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Now, even we have to admit that the scent of apple cider vinegar can be off-putting. However, do not let that fool you into not using it! We’ll have you know that Beyonce herself has admitted to using it. If it’s good enough for Queen B, it’s good enough for us! If you want to lose weight, feel free to put some water in it and drink the mixture before every meal. Apart from that, apple cider vinegar also reduces triglyceride, cholesterol, blood pressure, and the risk of contracting heart disease. Whoa!
Do you know how nutritious black beans are for you? Don’t forget that they are loaded with protein, folate, fiber, potassium, phytonutrients, and vitamin B6! That’s right, these tiny black things will lower your cholesterol and lessen your risk of heart diseases. They’re great in both burritos and soups as well so make sure to eat as many black beans as possible!
Reduced Fat Yogurt
If you want to achieve a well-balanced diet, it is very important that you leave some space for reduced fat yogurt or milk. These products are loaded with protein, calcium, zinc, iodine, and a variety of vitamins. Yogurt is actually effective in protecting you against strokes, heart diseases, and even some cancers. Of course, it also helps reduce your high blood pressure.
We highly recommend cabbage if you want a heart-healthy and low-calorie snack to add to your diet. After all, this leafy green comes with plenty of minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins. Its vitamin C component makes it ideal for boosting your body’s natural defenses and protects your arteries. Apart from the aforementioned, cabbage also wards off vision loss and certain cancers.
All over the world, rice is considered to be a staple food. It is true that white rice is the most popular for its accessibility, though let us not forget that brown rice actually offers more health benefits! The brown variety has better nutritional components and it is both nutrient-rich and gluten-free as well. It is excellent for weight loss as well as the prevention of diabetes and heart diseases.
It is important to keep in mind that an excess amount of saturated fat will not be good for your health. While coconut does contain lauric acid and bad cholesterol, the oil version is packed with good cholesterol! Keep in mind that there is a possibility that you will experience an increase in both types of cholesterol, though a modest amount of coconut oil in your diet will do you good.
Don’t go around thinking that cauliflower is a bland vegetable! It actually tastes great as a side dish or a main course. The so-called albino broccoli is great for the cardiovascular system and your overall health as it is full of fiber and low in carbs. You will also be glad to know that it is good for detoxifying your body, preventing stomach problems, combating respiratory problems, and preventing oxidative stress.
This is one tropical fruit that deserves a spot in your diet! It is full of carotene, calcium, antioxidants, phytonutrients, protein, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and vitamins. Apart from boosting the immune system and tasting completely delicious, it also has the phytochemical named captin. As a testament to its cardiovascular effects, it is used as an ingredient in medicine related to cardiovascular health.
There is no need to doubt the effects pistachio has on your heart! These nuts are loaded with plant sterols, antioxidants, and good fats. Apart from these, pistachios also come with plenty of potassium and protein. It’s truly a wonder nut!
Getting your fill of pumpkin spiced latte might be a better idea than you initially thought! After all, these orange superfoods are full of phytoestrogens, potassium, fiber, and vitamin C. Its nutritional components make it great if you want to see improvements in your eyesight, immunity, cholesterol, blood pressure level, weight management, and general cardiovascular health.
Do you want a good dipping sauce, a great pizza base, or a tasty tomato juice? If the answer is ‘yes’, you will be able to achieve all these and more with tomato sauce! Feel free to use it in your recipes as it helps reduce the bad cholesterol in your body, makes your skin glow, and lowers your risk of contracting any heart disease!
It might be time to face your childhood fears of Brussel sprouts! One way to deal with this is by learning about how healthy they actually are. A member of the cruciferous family, they contain potassium, iron, glucosinolates, and protein. What can they do for you? Among other things, Brussel sprouts can help fight cancer, detoxify your body, and boost your cardiovascular health.
Tangy and heart-healthy, olives should be a part of your nutritional regimen if it isn’t already! They make for excellent pizza, salad, and pasta toppings as well as great snacks by themselves. Full of antioxidants, monounsaturated fat, and nutrients, they can help lower your risk of heart disease, increase the good cholesterol in your body, and initiate weight loss.
Did you know that it is considered to be one of the most nutritious and tastiest spices in the world? Cinnamon has always had a spot in traditional forms of medicine and it is easy to see why. Aside from its taste benefits, cinnamon comes with a lot of manganese, fiber, and calcium to help in the prevention of heart disease, reduction of cholesterol, and the regulation of glucose and cholesterol.
It is true that edamame is one of the most addicting snacks you will find in the grocery, though there is no need to fear as it is also considered one of the healthiest. It will suit a diet that is low in cholesterol or saturated fat as it has folate, plant protein, fiber, and phytosterols. Take comfort in the fact that it can lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart problems.
We know that the term ‘collard green’ isn’t widely used, though you have surely heard of broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, bok choy, kale, rutabaga, and turnips! These leafy greens have plenty of lutein, vitamin A, and zeaxanthin as well as low-calorie content. Look no further if you wish to ward off diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
Are you surprised to find this natural and refreshing drink on the list? You shouldn’t be! Water is terrific for your overall health. If you want specifics, you should know that water can do wonders for your body weight, mood, brain, metabolism, and heart. Make sure to drink as much water as you possibly could throughout the day!
We hope you are just as glad as we are to find this fish on the list! The tasty fish can actually ensure healthy muscle tissues and overall growth. Canned tuna is one of the best-prepackaged food you will find in the grocery store as it comes with omega-3 fatty acids, which is great for your cardiovascular health.
This is one delicious fruit you should be snacking on if you wish to lower your risk of heart conditions! After all, these berries are low in fat but loaded with fiber, manganese, and vitamin C.
We daresay that Brazil nuts are some of the most delicious South American nuts you will ever taste! Apart from this, they should also feature prominently in your dishes as they contain nutrients, antioxidants, and good fat. Trust us when we say that Brazil nuts will certainly help prevent cardiovascular disease!
Don’t go around thinking that fatty fish have no place in a healthy diet! In fact, research has shown that they can do wonders for one’s wellbeing. Try to include lake trout, tuna, sardines, salmon, herring, and mackerel in your diet for their omega-3 fatty acids. You will soon learn that they are great at lowering cholesterol and improving your heart health!
Tomatoes sure are tasty, though you will be glad to learn that they come with plenty of minerals, fiber, lycopene, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C as well. Research has shown that these fruits are effective at reducing one’s risk of various diseases, including cardiovascular conditions.
If you are skeptical about the rave reviews regarding acai berries, we’re here to verify that they are the real deal! Go get a smoothie, breakfast bowl, or a snack mix right now as these berries serve as a great way to obtain antioxidants. Acai berries can help in the prevention of diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.
This article is adapted from beachraider.com
Published on 11/04/2018