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18 Heart Health Super Foods

February 25, 2015

For American Heart Month Health Magazine recently featured a great slideshow detailing 18 Super Foods for your heart's long term health. 

 

Salmon

      Salmon contains a large amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lower the risk of irregular heart beat, lower the risk plaque build up on arteries, and reduce triglycerides.

       

      Oatmeal

        Oatmeal is very high in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber has been shown to reduce cholesterol. Lauren Graf, a registered dietitian "It acts as a sponge in the digestive tract and soaks up the cholesterol so it is eliminated from the body and not absorbed into the bloodstream". 

         

        Woman Slects Heart Healthy Food Options

         

        Blueberries

          Blueberries and any other type of berries have been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack.

          In a separate study women aged 25-42 who ate more than 3 servings of strawberries and blueberries a week had a 32% lower risk of heart attack than those who ate less. The researchers believed the compounds, anthocyanins may dilate blood vessels and decrease blood pressure.

          Anthocyanins are the compounds that give plants their blue and red colors. 

           

          Dark Chocolate 

            A 2012 study concluded that daily chocolate consumption can reduce nonfatal heart attacks and stroke in those who are at high risk. Although, this study did only apply to dark chocolate, chocolate with 60- 70% cocoa.

            Dark Chocolate includes flavonoids called polyphenols, which can help with clotting, blood pressure, and inflammation.  Other forms of chocolate, candy bars and milk chocolate, unfortunately do not contain polyphenols. 

             

            Citrus Fruits

              A recent study found that a diet heavy in both oranges and grapefruit can lower risk of ischemic stroke by 19%.

              Citrus fruits are also very high in vitamin C. Vitamin C has been linked with lowering heart disease risk. 

               

              Soy 

                Soy, tofu and mils, are a healthy way to add protein to your diet without unhealthy cholesterol and fats.

                Soy protein has been found to actually decrease "bad" cholesterol, LDL. 

                 

                Potatoes

                  As long as the potatoes are not deep fried, potatoes can be great for your heart. 

                  Potatoes are full of potassium. Potassium can help lower blood pressure. Potatoes are also very high in fiber. Fiber can help lower blood pressure. 

                  Registered dietitian Graf  "They are definitely not a junk food or refined carbohydrate, they have a lot of health benefits". 

                   

                  Tomatoes

                    Just like potatoes, tomatoes are also very high in heart-healthy potassium.

                    Tomatoes are also a great source of lycopene the antioxidant. Lycopene is a carotenoid that can aid in fighting bad cholesterol. Keeping blood vessels open and lower heart attack risk. Also, tomatoes are low in sugar and calories.

                    Graf says "They're excellent for the body in a number of ways".  

                     

                    Nuts

                      Walnuts, almonds, peanuts, macadamia, and pistachios all have high amounts of fiber. Nuts also have vitamin E, which aids in lowering cholesterol.

                      "Some people in the past have avoided nuts because they're higher in fat, but most of the studies show that people who consume nuts daily are leaner than people who don't" says Graf. 

                       

                      Legumes

                        Legumes are excellent sources of protein without a lot of fat.

                        One recent study found that those who ate legumes at least 4 times a week had a 22 % lower risk of heart disease compared with those whose ate legumes less than once a week. 

                         

                        Extra-Virgin Olive Oil 

                          Olive oil is a great source of monounsaturated fats, which can help reduce both cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

                           

                          Red Wine

                            Small amounts of any type of alcohol are thought to lower heart disease risk.

                             

                            Green Tea

                              A 2006 study found  that those who drank four or more cups of green tea a day had a 20% reduced risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease compared with those seldom had green tea. 

                               

                              Brocoli, Spinach, and Kale

                                  Green vegetables are very high in carotenoids. Carotenoids are antioxidants and free your body of harmful compounds. 

                                  Green vegetables are also very high in heart healthy fiber. 

                                   

                                  Coffee

                                    One study found a 10 to 15 % lower risk of dying from heart disease or other disease in men and women who drank six or more cups of coffee per day. 

                                    Another study found that even two cups of coffee a day could lower the chane of stroke and cardiovascular disease by 30 %. 

                                     

                                    Flax Seeds 

                                      Chia seeds are very high in omega- 3 fatty acids. Also, they are very high in fiber. 

                                       

                                      Avocado

                                         Avocados are very very rich in monounsaturated fats that can lower heart disease risk factors, like cholesterol. Avocados are also very high in potassium and antioxidants. 

                                         

                                        Pomegranate

                                          Pomegranates are full of heart healthy antioxidants. 




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