The heart is one of the most vital organs of our body, which pumps blood in all body parts. It pumps nutrient-rich oxygenated blood to body cells. It also transports deoxygenated blood to the lungs, kidneys, and liver to clear carbon dioxide and other waste products.
Just like other organs, our heart also needs nutrients to work effortlessly. But, nowadays, we are fond of munching junk and processed foods that are hazardous for coronary vessels and cardiac muscles. These food choices increase the aging rate and make us more prone to various cardiovascular diseases and conditions.
Food rich in nutrients, plant-based photochemical, and antioxidants helps remove the free radicals (responsible for aging and various cardiac conditions) and toxins. They prevent our heart and blood vessels from chronic diseases.
Superfoods good for heart health
These superfoods contain a variety of beneficial fibers, fats, essential micronutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins. They can protect our hearts by lowering blood pressure levels, boosting good cholesterol, and preventing plaque buildup in coronary arteries. Therefore, if you are planning your diet for heart health, then remember to add the following superfoods to your meal:
Almonds and walnuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fibers, vitamins, monounsaturated fats, and plant sterols. This list of heart-friendly elements is crucial for heart health and lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Therefore, grab a handful of these nuts and notice their benefits.
Berries, including blueberries and cherries, are rich in soluble fibers, plant-based phytonutrients, and anthocyanins (antioxidants), which protect our hearts from oxidative stress and inflammatory conditions.
Flaxseeds are rich in fibers, lignins (phytochemical), and omega-3 fatty acids, which improve heart health. Therefore, include these honey-colored seeds in your baked foods, yogurt, shakes, smoothies, and cereal.
This whole grain food helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels and keep your heart healthy.
- Oats and oatmeal:
Oats and oatmeal contain beta-glucan fibers, which help reduce both LDL (bad) and total cholesterol levels. Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce blood vessel inflammation and prevent muscle damage.
Oranges are rich in pectin fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, which have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming oranges help control blood pressure levels and improve blood vessel health.
Avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated fats and potassium, which lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. This heart-friendly fruit reduces the risk of various cardiovascular diseases.
- Sweet potatoes:
Sweet potatoes contain high fibers, lycopene, and vitamin A, which improve cardiovascular health. They also have a low glycemic index and prevent the sudden spike of blood sugar after consumption.
- Black beans:
Black beans are rich in fiber, nutrients, magnesium, folate, and antioxidants, which help control blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. They also protect our hearts from radical-induced damage and chronic diseases.
Edamame or soybeans contain heart-healthy fibers, soy proteins, and nutrients, which can help lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health. Therefore, add edamame to your diet as an appetizer or evening snack.
- Fresh herbs:
Fresh herbs, like coriander, rosemary, cilantro, and mint leaves, add luscious flavor to dishes. Do you know that with adding flavors, they are also heart-friendly spices.
- Red wine:
Red wine contains two powerful antioxidants, such as resveratrol and catechin. These antioxidants protect artery walls from damage and enhance good cholesterol (HDL) levels.
According to healthcare providers, excess alcohol increases your chances of getting cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, one drink for women and two for men is the recommended daily quantity of alcohol consumption.
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- Fatty fish:
Famous seafood, salmon, mackerel, and tuna, are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which lower blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of arrhythmia.
- Olive oil:
Switch your saturated fat to more heart-friendly olive oil. It is rich in antioxidants, which protect the heart from various chronic diseases.
Low-fat yogurt contains various micronutrients, such as calcium and potassium. These nutrients maintain blood vessels’ health and control high blood pressure levels.
- Dark leafy vegetables:
Leafy vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and nitrates, which help blood vessels expand and improve blood supply. Therefore, add spinach, mustard leaves, beetroot greens, Bok Chou, and lettuce to your meal to enhance cardiovascular health.
- Soy products:
Soy foods contain omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, and fibers, which improve heart health. Therefore, add tofu and other soy products to your diet regimen to attain its heart-healthy benefits.
Black tea and green tea are rich in polyphenols, which improve blood vessel functions, reduce inflammation, and improve good cholesterol levels.
Changing your eating habits and consuming more heart-friendly food products improve your heart and blood vessel health.
Dr. Anand Kumar Pandey, Director & Senior Consultant – Interventional Cardiology, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Delhi.