Consume Heart Healthy Foods to reduce chances of heart disease & high blood pressure

To cut down on chances of a heart attack, you should have a healthy heart. To achieve this you must eat fresh heart healthy foods full of heart-healthy fats and antioxidants, which reduce risk of developing heart disease and high blood pressure. Regular exercises, not smoking and controlling stress are not enough. Along with these you need to consume heart healthy foods. Relax, nothing to worry. I will give you a ready list of “best of the best” heart healthy foods to have a healthy heartand boost your nutritional wellness as well. The heart healthy foods listed here are all top-performers in protecting your heart and blood vessels.

Heart healthy foods

Heart healthy foods

1. Oatmeal: Start your day with a steaming bowl of oats. Oats contain many ingredients needed for a heart healthy diet, like Omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, folate, niacin, calcium, soluble fiber. You can mix cold or hot oatmeal with fresh berries, raisins, almonds for a tasty treat. You need a lot of roughage each day and oatmeal can serve this purpose as well. This fiber-rich super food lowers levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and keeps arteries clear. Oats are nourishing whole grains and full of vitamins, minerals and keep you regular. Choose coarse or steel-cut oats over instant varieties as they contain more fiber. You can mix cut pieces of a banana for additional dose of fiber.

2. Salmon/Fish: This cold-water fish is a great source of protein and super-rich heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Consuming two or more servings of this fish and other omega-3 rich foods twice a week can effectively reduce blood pressure and keep clotting at bay resulting into your risk of dying of a heart attack by up to one-third. Fish such as salmon and tuna contain omega-3 fats, which lower levels of triglycerides in the blood. High levels of triglycerides may lead to blood clotting. Omega-3s help in lowering of blood pressure and managing heart rhythms. Flaxseed oil, canola oil and walnuts are other sources of omega-3 fats. Salmon also contain carotenoid astaxanthin, which is a powerful antioxidant.

If you don’t like salmon, eat other oily fish like mackerel, tuna, herring and sardines which are almost equally good as heart healthy foods

3. Avocados: Avocados are packed with monounsaturated fat which helps in lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) levels while raising the HDL (good) cholesterol in your body. Avocados also help in the absorption of carotenoids (especially beta-carotene and lycopene) which are essential for healthy heart and thus Avocados come under the category of heart healthy foods.

4. Olive Oil: Olive oil is a great source of monounsaturated fats which help in lowering of your LDL (bad) cholesterol and cut down on risk of your developing heart disease. Choose extra-virgin or virgin varieties as they are least processed and therefore good as heart healthy oil.  

5. Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, pine nuts and peanuts are packed full of vitamins, minerals, monounsaturated fats, low levels of saturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids and thus are parts of heart healthy foods group. Like olive oil, they are a good source of healthy fat.  By eating nuts you can lower the chances of getting heart disease.

6. BlueberriesThey contain anthocyanin, an antioxidant. They also contain Beta-carotene and lutein, ellagic acid (a polyphenol), vitamin C, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, fiber. Cranberries, red raspberries, bilberries, strawberries, as well as other berries also good for your heart. Consuming a cup of mixed berries contribute to increased levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and lowered blood pressure, two positive signs for a healthy heart. Berries very well serve the purpose of being heart healthy foods.

7. Spinach: Spinach is at the front line of the vegetable kingdom. A dark green leafy vegetable and a great source of vitamins, lutein (a carotenoid), B-complex vitamins, minerals like folate, iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium, fiber which protect you from heart disease.

8. Soy: This is an inexpensive great source of high quality lean protein containing fiber, vitamins, and minerals – all needed for a heart healthy diet. This is claimed to be helpful in lowering cholesterol & triglycerides which contribute in prevention of cardiovascular disease. Soy comes in the category of heart healthy foods due to their high levels of polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Choose natural sources of soy, such as edamame, or organic silken tofu. Soymilk is also beneficial by adding to a bowl of oatmeal or whole-grain cereal. But you have to be careful about quantity of salt in your processed soy, as some varieties of soy food can contain added sodium which can cause high blood pressure.

9. Flaxseeds: They are chock-full of fiber, phytoestrogens, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They are a very good heart healthy food. Top a bowl of oatmeal or whole grain cereal with a little flaxseed or you can add grounded flaxseeds in all sorts of food like yogurt parfait morning cereal.

10. Yogurt: Gum disease if left unchecked can elevate heart disease risk. People with gum disease are twice as likely to suffer from heart problems. Research has shown that yogurt protects against gum disease and thus helpful in preventing heart disease also.

11. Raisins: Research has shown that antioxidants in raisins protects from the growth of bacteria that can cause inflammation and gum disease. So resultantly, dealing with gum disease help people avoid the heart disease, as said above if you have gum disease you are twice as likely to suffer from heart problems.

12. Whole Grains: The whole grains contain antioxidants, phytoestrogens and phytosterols that protect you from coronary disease. As they contain fiber also, therefore, they are helpful in lowering your risk of heart disease.

13. Kidney, Black or Pinto Beans: They contain soluble fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, B-complex vitamins, niacin, folate, magnesium, calcium. Beans are good heart healthy food. Like all foods that contain plenty of soluble fiber, beans help in keeping cholesterol under check and keep it from getting absorbed in the gut. Beans also contain many heart protective chemicals, including flavonoids, a compound found in wine, berries and chocolate.

Lentils, chickpeas are also a good source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.

14. Apples: Frequent apple eaters have the lower risk of suffering from heart disease as compared to non-apple eaters. Strong antioxidant flavonoid compounds found in apples (quercetin, epicatechin, epigallocatechin, kaemferol and other polysyllabics)  prevent LDL (bad) cholesterol from oxidizing and save you from triggering of a series of reactions that lead to buildup of plaque in arteries. Apples are also a source of pectin, a form of soluble fiber which lower cholesterol and are also provider of vitamin C, another potent antioxidant.

15. Banana: Banana contains potassium which helps in maintaining normal heart function and the balance of sodium and water in your body. Potassium also helps in excretion of excess sodium by the kidneys which help in maintaining healthy blood pressure.

16. Pomegranates: Pomegranates contain polyphenols including anthocyanins and tannins that is believed to help in reducing the buildup of plaques in arteries and lowering of blood pressure. Pomegranates are packed with antioxidants as well and thus are a good heart healthy food.

17. Popcorns: Popcorns are source of polyphenols (antioxidants which help in improving heart health). Popcorns contain polyphenols three times more than kidney beans and four times more than cranberries. Moreover, popcorn is a whole grain and by eating more of it you can be leaner and have lower risk of heart disease and thus a good heart healthy food.

18. Here are other “best of the best” heart healthy foods: Red wine, Tofu, Brown Rice, onion, garlic, Indian Goose berry,tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, red bell peppers, asparagus, oranges, cantaloupe, papaya, dark chocolate, green tea.

By consuming heart healthy foods you can reduce chances of your getting heart disease and high blood pressure.

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