Heart diseases remain the top cause of death worldwide, with over 17.9 million people losing their lives each year. While most of us take it lightly, who knows when even minor symptoms turn into incurable cardiovascular disease (CVD), leading to the loss of life? However, a simple change in your lifestyle and diet can greatly lower the chances of developing heart disease.
Nature has given us so much, and a healthy diet is probably the biggest gift to mankind. Adding healthy foods to your diet can lower the chances of heart disease by decreasing inflammation, improving blood pressure, and reducing cholesterol levels.
According to recent research, foods rich in fiber, minerals, vitamins, and healthy fats reduce the chances of cardiac arrest by 80% compared to foods that are high in transfats and saturated fats. But that does not all depend on diet; you should also consider making changes in your lifestyle, like exercising regularly, managing stress, and maintaining a healthy weight. So, let’s talk about 8 superfoods you should include in your diet right now to reduce the chances of cardiac arrest and other heart-related diseases.
8 Heart-healthy Foods to Include in Your Diet
When nature has given us so much to keep ourselves healthy, why waste money on doctors and expensive medicines and treatments? Here are some superfoods that reduce the risk of heart disease.
Including fiber-rich foods in our diet is important for maintaining a healthy body. It aids in reducing the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. And when we talk about fiber-enriched food, how can we forget Oats? This tasty food contains a soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which has been proven to lower the bad cholesterol levels in the human body.
When Oats are consumed, they become a gel-like substance that binds cholesterol and prevents it from absorbing into blood vessels. The high level of bad cholesterol in the body is the significant reason behind cardiac arrests as they build a plague in the arteries, which narrow down the blood vessels and affect the blood flow to the heart.
Berries are natural antioxidants and probably the best food for heart patients. They are rich in anthocyanins, a powerful oxidant that reduces inflammation in the body.
In addition, they provide a plentiful supply of dietary fiber, which is proven to lower the bad cholesterol levels in the body. The best part of including berries in your diet is that they have a low-calorie count and are rich in essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, making them a superfood for heart patients.
Some types of berries rich in anthocyanins include strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries. Incorporating these colorful and delicious fruits not only lowers the risk of cardiac arrest but also promotes weight loss.
#3 Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolates contain a lot of flavanols, which are natural substances with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Flavanols are especially rich in cocoa beans, which are the main ingredient in dark chocolate.
Research has shown that flavanols have the potential to enhance blood circulation and decrease blood pressure, both of which are crucial components in preventing heart disease. Additionally, flavanols can reduce inflammation in the body and safeguard the cells that line the blood vessels from damage, which can decrease the likelihood of developing atherosclerosis (a plaque build-up in the arteries) and other cardiovascular ailments.
Besides its flavanol content, dark chocolate is also better for your heart than other types of chocolate because it has less sugar and more cocoa solids, which makes it a healthier option for promoting heart health. To fully reap the health benefits, it’s crucial that you opt for dark chocolates with a minimum cocoa content of 70%.
Nuts have a lot of healthy nutrients, fats, fiber, and other essential nutrients. Eating nuts can help to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, which aids in preventing heart disease. Nuts have poly and monounsaturated fats – healthy fats that can help to improve LDL cholesterol levels and overall cholesterol balance.
Also, the fiber content in nuts can help to lower cholesterol absorption and support healthy digestion. Plant-based protein can be found in nuts, making them a great source of this nutrient., which can help to protect overall heart health by lowering the risk of high blood pressure and improving insulin sensitivity.
They also have important nutrients such as magnesium, vitamin E, and potassium, which have been shown to be good for heart health. Nuts that are good for your heart are almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and cashews.
However, it is essential to be mindful of portion sizes when eating nuts, as they have a high amount of calories and can cause weight gain if overeaten. A handful of nuts per day is a good amount to eat for heart health benefits without going overboard on calories.
#5 Leafy Greens
Green leafy salads and vegetables are high in minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients required to stay healthy. Additionally, it reduces the chances of heart-related diseases. Leafy greens like Kale, Swiss chard, spinach, and collard greens are enriched with fiber, minerals, iron, and antioxidants to keep the heart healthy.
Additionally, the potassium content in these leafy greens is particularly beneficial for heart patients. It is a natural electrolyte that maintains normal blood pressure levels. Additionally, studies have shown potassium intake can lower blood pressure instantly.
Apart from these nutrients, these foods are rich in nitrates, which are proven to improve blood pressure and blood flow in the body. They are high in vitamin K and C, which is good for strong bones and protects cells from damage.
Garlic is good for your heart because it has a substance called allicin, which can improve your heart health in different ways. It can lower your blood pressure. If left unmanaged, high blood pressure can increase the risk of developing heart problems., and research has shown that eating garlic or taking garlic supplements can help to lower down the blood pressure levels in people who have high blood pressure.
Garlic can also help to improve your cholesterol levels, which are another important factor for your heart health. Some studies have found that garlic supplements may help to decrease LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels while increasing levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
Besides its effects on blood pressure and cholesterol, garlic’s anti-inflammatory properties can help to lower inflammation in your body, including in your blood vessels. Moreover, garlic has antioxidants that can help to protect your cells from harm and lower the chances of developing chronic diseases.
#7 Fatty Fish
Maintaining a healthy heart requires the consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids, but our bodies cannot make them on their own. We have to get them from the foods we eat, especially fish. Fish that is high in fat contain a significant amount of Omega-3 fatty acids, namely EPA and DHA, that can benefit our hearts in many ways.
They can lower inflammation in our blood vessels and throughout our body. They can also cut down on triglycerides, which are a kind of fat in our blood. They can help to keep our blood pressure under control and prevent irregular heartbeats. All these things can lower our chances of getting heart disease and keep our hearts healthy.
The best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout. You should aim to eat at least two portions of fatty fish every week to get enough omega-3 fatty acids for your heart. If you don’t like fish or have other reasons not to eat it, you can also think about taking a fish oil supplement to boost your omega-3 fatty acids intake.
#8 Olive Oil
Olive oil is a popular and versatile cooking oil that can be used for baking, sautéing, or making cold dressings. It has a mild flavor that can be peppery or grassy, depending on the type of olives used. It can also withstand temperatures up to 350°F (176°C), which is suitable for many recipes, especially baked goods.
Olive oil is probably the best source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects the cells from damage. It also has a high amount of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that may have benefits for cancer and inflammation prevention.
Moreover, olive oil has some unique antioxidant compounds, such as oleocanthal and oleuropein. These compounds may help to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and prevent LDL (bad) cholesterol from becoming harmful.
Olive oil is known for its heart-healthy effects and may also help to prevent obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.
The connection between a healthy diet and heart disease is evident in many studies. The food you choose to eat can greatly affect your body., especially your heart. Increased blood pressure inflammation, cholesterol levels, and triglycerides are all signs of deteriorating heart health.
Including the superfoods mentioned above in a healthy and balanced diet can aid in maintaining a healthy heart and lower your risk of cardiac arrest and other heart diseases. Include these superfoods in your diet today and live your life to the fullest.