The best way to eat for your heart is through a varied diet of foods we all know to be wholesome and healthy. The trick is to turn your kitchen into a hub of heart-healthy meal plans. Various whole grains, vegetables, fruits and fish are a great place to start. A growing body of research shows that by choosing the right types of food, we can actually protect the body from heart disease in up to 70% of cases worldwide.
This is exactly what the holistic lifestyle is all about; preventing ailments and diseases by living a varied, balanced and wholesome life so that we can experience our best selves. Since nutrition is such a major part of overall health and happiness, let’s start in the kitchen! The foods that are good for your heart, are also good your entire body – from brain to veins, and toes to nose.
Here’s 10 foods that have been proven to nourish and protect the heart:
Healthy Heart Nº1
Shown to help prevent coronary disease due to their high level of powerful antioxidants and flavonoids. Blueberries are full of fibre, potassium, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin C and phytonutrients, all which support and protect the heart. In addition, the absence of cholesterol present in blueberries make these berries a winning combination.
Healthy Heart Nº2
Oats are a cleansing grain which help reduce cholesterol. They contain a soluble fibre called beta-glucan which helps regulate blood sugar and supports a healthy immune system. Just 5-10 grams of beta-glucan has been proven to lower LDL cholesterol when consumed daily.
Healthy Heart Nº3
Rich in flavonoids and antioxidants, green tea has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine. Known for it’s ability to lower high blood pressure and reduce blood clots, it is also believed to have an anti-ageing effect, and is drank traditionally to promote longevity.
Healthy Heart Nº4
Due to it’s high levels of antioxidants and flavonoids, dark chocolate containing over 70% cocoa has been shown to reduce blood pressure and relax blood vessels, which makes the heart’s job a whole lot easier.
Healthy Heart Nº5
The superfood which which has it all! This veggie is not only brimming with essential vitamins and minerals, it’s also high in fibre and low in cholesterol, which is exactly what the heart likes. A chemical found in the vegetable called sulforaphane, boosts the body’s defence system to keep arteries unclogged and has been linked to preventing heart disease.
Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, which funded the research, said: “As well as adding evidence to support the importance of eating “five a day”, the biochemistry revealed in this research could lead to more targeted dietary or medical approaches to prevent or lessen disease that leads to heart attacks and strokes.” – Dailymail
Healthy Heart Nº6
An excellent source of fibre, antioxidants and a magical substance called allicin, which studies have shown lowers cholesterol and can help lower the risk of heart disease. Cauliflower also contains a high level of sulforaphane, and is very similar in it’s nutritional profile to it’s close cousin broccoli.
Healthy Heart Nº7
Famous for their vitamin C content which strengthens the immune system, what people don’t often know is that it also protects against stroke. Oranges are also rich in flavonoids, and pectin, proven to lower blood pressure and reduce arterial inflammation.
Healthy Heart Nº8
Although high in calories, they’re chocked full of monounsaturated fats (fatty acids which are the good kind). These fats have shown to boost levels of good cholesterol in the blood stream whilst reducing bad cholesterol. The fruit has also proven to minimise blood clots and improve blood supply to the heart by removing previously formed arterial plaque.
Healthy Heart Nº9
Rich in pectin which actively blocks the body absorbing cholesterol, apples are also high in fibre which acts a cleanser, removing bad cholesterol from the body. Make sure you never peel your apples, as the skin is where it keeps all it’s heart-vital antioxidants and polyphenols. An apple a day could keep heart disease at bay. In fact, recent studies reported a 40% decrease in heart-harming LDL cholesterol from simply ingesting a single apple (of any colour) every day.
Healthy Heart Nº10
Brussels sprouts have so much to offer, despite their bad rap for causing gassiness or tasting bland. There are so many fantastic and delicious dishes you can create using brussels sprouts, and their heart-healthy benefits make them that much more appealing. With a nutritional profile nearly matching that of broccolis and cauliflowers, they come quite high on the health-food scale. This is how good they can really be, so never strike them off as a boring, tasteless veggie again:
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