10 Superfoods for Your Heart
Heart disease remains the top cause of death for Americans, though it has decreased in recent years. Because of its pervasiveness, we know a lot about how to prevent it. Diet can play a huge part in keeping your heart healthy and here are 10 superfoods to help you do just that.
- Avocado – Full of monounsaturated fats (those would be the good kind), avocados also serve up serious amounts of antioxidants and potassium (good for cholesterol). Add to that a bit of fiber and it’s easy to see why they are a super food.
- Beans (And Other Legumes) – They’re a magic fruit for other reasons! Beans, along with lentils and peas, are a low-fat source of protein. People who eat legumes at least four times per week have a 22% lower risk of heart disease when compared to those who eat them only once per week. Legumes are also loaded with cholesterol lowering fiber.
- Coffee – You might alright have a morning cuppa joe and that’s something you should keep up. Daily coffee consumption was shown to decrease the risk of dying from heart disease by 10 to 15% in people who consumed six or more cups per day. If that sounds like too much, even just two cups could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke by around 30%.
- Dark chocolate – Any excuse is a good one for eating chocolate, but keeping your heart healthy? You better double down on your consumption! Studies show that daily chocolate consumption could reduce heart attacks and strokes in folks more susceptible to them. Grab a bar that contains at least 60-70% cocoa to get the full benefits of the polyphenols within, which assist with regulating blood pressure, clotting, and inflammation.
- Extra-virgin olive oil – Another food full of monounsaturated fats, extra virgin olive oil has been shown to lower the risk for heart attacks, strokes, and just generally death by about 30% when consumed daily. Plus, despite myths, EVOO (as it is sometimes called) is great for frying and actually the oil will help you better absorb the nutrients of whatever you cooked in it.
- Green Tea – It’s quite the task to do on the daily, but a study found that folks who consumed four or more cups of green tea per day decreased their risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke by about 20%. Even if you drink it on the daily (but just not as much), the antioxidants in green tea will help with heart health.
- Oatmeal – With loads of fiber, oatmeal can help lower cholesterol. The fiber helps cholesterol pass through , so that it isn’t absorbed by the body. Skip the sugar often found in instant packs and go with either old fashioned or quick oats for the full fiber effect.
- Potatoes – Though spuds were long thought of as nutrient-deficient vehicles for gravy, potatoes that are boiled or baked can actually be heart healthy. They deliver a big dose of blood-pressure-lowering potassium. Just avoid frying them or slathering them in tons of butter!
- Salmon – Salmon and other fatty fish deliver heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Studies show they reduce the risk for arrhythmia or an irregular heart beat, along with decreasing artherosclerosis or plaque build-up in the arteries. Aim to eat fish twice per week.
- Tomatoes – Another high-potassium food, tomatoes also contain the antioxidant lycopene. Studies have shown that lycopene may assist in lowering cholesterol while also keeping blood vessels more open. This in turn lowers your risk for heart attacks.