Preventing heart disease isn’t just about avoiding unhealthy foods. By choosing the right foods and eating them regularly you can help keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check. Here are some great foods you should include in your heart healthy diet to help you protect your heart with every bite.
Avocado- It’s no surprise that avocado is on this list. It’s high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, otherwise known as the healthy fats. Being naturally cholesterol free, avocado makes a great replacement for spreads such as butter or mayonnaise. But be aware, avocados are high in calories, so keep your portions modest.
Blueberries- Blueberries make for a great heart healthy snack. Their dark blue color provides specific antioxidants which are known for contributing to lowering blood pressure. Make sure you are eating fresh blueberries, as blueberry flavored products often contain added sugar and fat, which you want to avoid.
Celery- Typically, celery is associated with weight loss. However, it also contributes to helping your heart and veins function better, which has the effect of keeping your blood pressure in check.
Barley- The fiber in barley is great because it can help cut cholesterol.
Dark Chocolate- The antioxidants found in dark chocolate help reduce the amount of cholesterol your body absorbs. This makes dark chocolate the perfect, guilt-free treat. But make sure it’s at least 70% cocoa and keep your portions small.
Black beans- Some of the nutrients in black beans can help lower blood pressure.
Flaxseed- It is rich in omega-3 and contains lots of fiber. Flaxseeds work wonderfully as a topping on yoghurt, soup or salad, and can even be blended into smoothies.
Edamame- It is packed with soy protein, which can help cut cholesterol.
Green Tea- Green tea is thought to prevent heart disease or any condition caused by excessive inflammation. It also boosts metabolism and contains caffeine, which will keep you energized throughout the day.
Fish- The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are good for your heart. They prevent your blood from clotting, improving your circulatory system and stabilizing your blood pressure.
Oranges- Oranges contain a type of fiber in them that can lower “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Garlic- Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which is believed to bring most of its health benefits. Eating garlic regularly can help lower your cholesterol levels. However, reaching your daily requirement of garlic is not always feasible, so you can opt for a garlic supplement as a more effective means to lowering your cholesterol.
Sweet potatoes- They have minerals that can help keep blood pressure in check.
Nuts- Just a handful of nuts can get you one step closer to a healthy heart. Almonds and Walnuts help your heart by lowering bad cholesterol levels as well as keeping your blood sugar in check. They also help you lose body fat by keeping you fuller longer.
Red wine- Red wine, in moderation, has long been thought of as heart-healthy. The antioxidant in red wine comes from the skin of grapes and is linked to preventing heart disease. It protects the lining of blood vessels in your heart as well as preventing blood clots.
Oats- Oats are known for their health benefits from lowering cholesterol levels and helping with fiber intake. They do this by acting as a sponge that carries cholesterol out of your body. What’s more, is they make for the perfect breakfast, slowly releasing energy throughout your day.
Spinach- Spinach is one of the most nutrient dense foods you can get. The fiber lowers cholesterol levels, whilst the lutein aids your arteries. Eating spinach fresh is best, so add it to your salads or smoothies to complement your heart healthy diet.
So next time you write your grocery list, make sure you’re including these heart healthy foods!