10 Foods That Will Help Your Heart Stay Healthy
Keeping your heart healthy is an important part of living a longer, fuller life. After all, the heart is the most important muscle in our body. It keeps our blood flowing and everything else working. Making sure that it stays healthy is imperative. Eating properly is a big part of ensuring that your heart stays in good working condition. Junk food, while tasty when we eat it, is not something we need in our diet every day. However, the following ten foods are. If you can find a way to incorporate them into your diet, then you can get on your way to making sure your heart stays healthy.
Believe it or not, oatmeal is not just a breakfast food anymore. One serving of oatmeal provides you with fiber that helps lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in your body. It is chock full of omega-3 fatty acids, potassium and folate. Steel-cut or coarse cuts oats have more fiber in them than the instant variety if you have the time to make them. If oatmeal is the only fiber you get in the course of a day, add a banana for 4 grams more.
Another super food because of the amount of omega-3 fatty acids, salmon also contains the antioxidant carotenoid astaxanthin. Both help to reduce your blood pressure and keep the blood clotting to a minimum. If you take in two servings of salmon a week, you could reduce the risk of a heart attack by a third. Make sure that you eat wild salmon over farm raised to avoid eating chemicals that may be used to raise the fish. Also, if you don’t like salmon, try eating tuna, herring, sardines or mackerel to get the same health benefits.
Consider adding a slice of avocado to your sandwich or to a salad. They help lower the LDL levels in your blood and raise the HDL thanks to the monounsaturated fat within the fruit. Avocado also helps the body absorb other things like lycopene and beta-carotene which are essential to keeping your heart healthy.
Another type of monounsaturated fat, olive oil is great for lowering the LDL levels and reducing your risk of heart disease. Extra-virgin and virgin varieties of olive oil are the best types to use and you can use it in place of butter when you are cooking.
Walnuts, almonds and macadamia nuts are all filled with good monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. If you are looking for a healthy snack that is also filling, grab a handful of these three nuts and enjoy them knowing you are helping keep your heart healthy.
Fruit is good for everyone, but berries contain anti-inflammatory properties which help reduce the risk of developing cancer or heart disease. Blackberries and blueberries contain the most of these anti-inflammatories, but any type of berry is good for your heart.
Fiber is important in your diet and most people don’t eat enough of it on a daily basis. By adding legumes to your diet – lentils, black beans, kidney beans and chickpeas – you are not only adding soluble fiber to your diet, but you are also getting extra calcium for bone health and omega-3 fatty acids.
Popeye was on to something with the amount of spinach he ate. Spinach packs a healthy wallop with the amount of fiber, potassium, folate and lutein that is in a serving. When you add it to your diet alone or in combination with other vegetables, you are reducing your risk of heart attack and heart disease significantly.
This food can be sprinkled on oatmeal or other cereal in order to boost your fiber intake. It also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, making it one of the healthiest things to add to your diet.
Soy has been shown to lower cholesterol and it is a great substitute for lean protein if you prefer to reduce the amount of meat in your diet. It is low in saturated fat and it is a great addition to any diet. Natural sources of soy are the best for keeping the heart healthy. Foods like organic tofu, edamame and tempeh are the best sources. Keep an eye on the sodium content in soy foods. You do not want to add any more sodium to your diet.