February 10, 2021 by D.Fathia
Updated February 12, 2021
Food for the heart
We might often be too busy to take care of our hearts, health, and being. However, the busy routines and pressing life demands must not blind us once and for all to the status of our health. We must remember once in a while to check our conditions, plan for better health, and be aware of the risks facing us.
Heart health month is an opportunity to keep track of our hearts’ health. Once again we would like to talk about good foods for the heart, but beware it is not just about food.
Best ten foods for the heart
Almonds: the almond fruit is among the healthiest fruits that you can enjoy without guilt. The benefits of almonds are endless but let’s focus on what matters for now. Highly dense in monounsaturated fats and fiber, the fruit makes an excellent disease fighter.
A few studies have proved that consuming almonds regularly helped decrease the levels of bad cholesterol and belly fat, which are two dangerous factors that could lead to strokes and heart diseases.
One thing to remember is that almonds are rich in calories, and hence you need to control your consumption and keep it within limits especially if you are trying to lose weight.
Garlic: we grew up hating garlic, for both the smell and taste. Garlic has been proved to have potent medical properties. Allicin, an abundant compound in garlic, is considered responsible for various ailments treatment. It helps reducing cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and platelet buildup, and hence preventing potential blood clots and other heart diseases.
Daily intake of garlic is an excellent food for the heart. Consuming them raw or having their extract is always better than cooking the cloves, yet all ways are acceptable.
Olive oil: the best among vegetable oils, olive oil is well recognized for its incredible benefits. It is loaded with heart-friendly monounsaturated fats, acids, and antioxidants. This liquid is perfect for preventing chronic illnesses, fighting inflammations, and possibly reducing blood pressure.
Several studies have been conducted and all affirmed the positive effects of olive oil on heart health. One study proved that regular intake of olive oil resulted in a 35 % decrease in the possibility of fostering heart diseases among more than 7000 million subjects.
Vegetables: most kids hate eating vegetables, unfortunately, they have been missing great advantages. Vegetables are among the most beneficial foods that one can have. Leafy vegetables are the powerhouse of vitamins and minerals necessary for the body.
Vitamin K, for example, assists in protecting the arteries. Kale, collard green, spinach, broccoli, and parsley are the richest in vitamin K. make sure you add these items to your daily meals; use them in salads, to garnish dishes…etc.
Grains: whole grains such as wheat, rice, oatmeal, quinoa, and barley are rich in phytonutrients and fiber. One study suggested that consuming whole grains can reduce blood pressure and hence prevent 25 % of heart stokes incidences. Daily intake of grains might possibly inhibit heart illnesses by 22 %.
Various food labels can be misleading; you need to make sure that you choose those products with 100 % whole grains. Processed grains are not as healthy and beneficial as the other ones.
Fish: Fish is one of the building blocks of the Mediterranean diet which has been proved to be on top of the healthiest diets to follow. All types of fish, be it salmon, tuna, or sardines are excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Those acids have been proven in several studies to have positive effects on arterial function, lowering blood pressure, and cholesterol.
If you are not a big fan of seafood, then you can substitute them with fish oil.
Spices and condiments: look for low in sodium spices. Salad dressings made with olive oil and canola oil are perfect options. Natural nuts butter with no additions, vinegar, and herbs are also good for heart health. Harissa sauce is one fabulous option to go for. It is made of chili peppers, in which capsaicin is a highly recommended component, olive oil, and a few herbs.
Green tea: one of the healthiest beverages that you can drink is green tea. It is loaded with antioxidants, catechins, and polyphenols. Various studies have proved that green tea can reduce blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels. Think of enjoying an after-meal glass of green tea as a relaxing and healthy routine.
Seeds: hemp seeds are rich in arginine amino acid which helps in reducing blood pressure. Flaxseeds if consumed regularly can decrease systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Chia seeds and sunflower seeds are also beneficial for heart health although more research needs to be conducted along with human trials. Make sure you purchase products made with these seeds and include them in your meals. You can also have a handful of seeds as a snack.
Dark chocolate: to sweeten your mouth and enjoy an after-meal bite or a snack you can opt for dark chocolate. Chocolate with at least 70 % of cocoa is rich in flavonoids. They can protect against blood pressure, clotting, and inflammations. Don’t feel guilty and enjoy your dark chocolate bar.
The list of excellent food for the heart cannot really be strictly defined, yet it is essential that you do your best to include most if not all of the above-mentioned options.