Globally, heart disease is responsible for close to one-third of all fatalities. Diet has a vital influence on heart health and can impact your risk of heart disease. Certain meals can alter blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol levels, and inflammation, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.
You should consume the following foods to improve your heart health to the fullest.
1. Green tea
Green tea has been linked to several health advantages, including enhanced insulin sensitivity and higher fat burning.
Additionally, it is a veritable treasure trove of polyphenols and catechins, which function as antioxidants to stop cellular damage, lessen inflammation, and safeguard the health of your heart.
After 6 weeks of treatment, one study found that green tea extract significantly boosted leptin and decreased LDL (bad) cholesterol in obese and overweight women, even while other weight-related biochemical indicators showed no appreciable changes.
According to a review of research, consuming green tea extract for three months lowered triglycerides, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and total cholesterol compared to taking a placebo.
Consuming matcha, a beverage similar to green tea but brewed with entire tea leaves, or taking a green tea supplement may also be beneficial for heart health.
2. Nuts and seeds
Consuming nuts and seeds may help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, according to research. According to a 2018 study in the International Journal of Epidemiology, eating a diet that prioritizes higher intakes of plant protein rather than meat was linked to better cardiovascular health. According to McClure, eating only 1.5 ounces of seeds and nuts each day could lower your cardiovascular risk by as much as 30%.
3. Vegetables with leaves
The abundance of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, and collard greens is widely recognized.
They are a particularly good source of vitamin K, which aids in artery protection and healthy blood clotting.
Legumes, such as split peas, lentils, and beans, are beneficial for the heart and have additional health advantages. They include protein with no animal fat, which is the key benefit they offer in terms of heart protection, according to McClure. You can consume less saturated fat and cholesterol by switching to plant protein. Additionally, legumes are a wonderful source of fiber, which lowers cholesterol.
Berries like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are bursting with vital elements that are essential for heart health.
Berries are also a good source of anthocyanins, an antioxidant that guards against oxidative stress and inflammation that cause heart disease. Numerous heart disease risk factors can be lowered by consuming a lot of berries, according to studies.
Furthermore, they contain significant levels of dietary nitrates, which have been demonstrated to lower blood pressure, lessen arterial stiffness, and enhance the functionality of the cells that line blood arteries.
One investigation discovered that regular consumption of blueberries enhanced the health of the blood vessel lining cells, which regulate blood pressure and blood clotting.
Berries make a wonderful low-calorie dessert or a filling snack. To benefit from their distinct health advantages, try incorporating a few different varieties into your diet.
If you cook your popcorn in olive oil rather than butter on the stove, Jones thinks it makes a terrific heart-healthy snack. Popcorn is a complete grain that is rich in antioxidants and fiber. The ideal snack can be made by adding little cinnamon to sweeten it, she advises.
Monounsaturated fats, which are heart-healthy and have been associated with lower cholesterol and a lower risk of heart disease, are abundant in avocados.
In one study, one avocado was consumed daily by one test group while they examined the impact of three cholesterol-lowering diets on 45 overweight and obese participants.
The avocado group saw decreases in LDL (bad) cholesterol, particularly tiny, dense LDL (bad), which is thought to dramatically increase the risk of heart disease.
Additionally, avocados are a good source of potassium, a vitamin that is vital for heart health. 975 milligrams of potassium, or around 28% of your daily requirement, are found in just one avocado.
A 15% decreased risk of stroke is linked to consuming at least 4.7 grams of potassium daily, which can reduce blood pressure by an average of 8.0/4.1 mmHg.
8. Fish oil and fatty fish
Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna, and they have been intensively researched for their potential to improve heart health.
The omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish may play a preventive function in lowering the risk of heart disease as well as marginally lowering the risk of arrhythmias and CVD events.
A second study found a long-term relationship between consuming fish and having reduced total cholesterol, blood triglycerides, fasting blood sugar, and systolic blood pressure.
Consuming fish is linked to a lower risk of mortality, depression, and cardiovascular disease.
A different way to acquire your recommended daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids if you don’t consume a lot of seafood is by using fish oil.
Supplemental fish oil has been demonstrated to lower blood pressure, enhance vascular function, and lower blood triglycerides.
9. Dark chocolate
Flavonoids, an antioxidant found in abundance in dark chocolate, can improve heart health.
Interestingly, eating chocolate has been linked by multiple studies to a lower risk of heart disease. Less than six servings of chocolate per week may lower your risk of diabetes, coronary heart disease, and stroke.
Remember that although these studies demonstrate a relationship, they may not take into consideration all potential contributing factors. In addition, chocolate may be high in calories and sugar, which could counteract many of its health benefits.
Lycopene, a naturally occurring plant pigment with potent antioxidant effects, is abundant in tomatoes. Since oxidative damage and inflammation can both contribute to heart disease, antioxidants work to counteract dangerous free radicals. An increased risk of heart attack and stroke are associated with low blood levels of lycopene.
Blood lipids, blood pressure, and endothelial function are all improved by increasing the consumption of tomato products and taking lycopene supplements. Eating two raw tomatoes four times a week increased levels of HDL (good) cholesterol, according to another study of 50 overweight women.
Additionally, several studies have linked consuming more leafy green vegetables to a decreased risk of heart disease.
Increased consumption of leafy green vegetables was linked to up to a 16% lower incidence of heart disease, according to one analysis of eight studies. A high intake of leafy green vegetables was associated with a noticeably lower risk of coronary heart disease, according to a different study involving 29,689 women.