One of the number one killers in today’s western world is heart disease. And really, is it so hard to believe why? At restaurants and fast food joints across the country, red meat, cheese-drenched dishes and menu items oozing with butter are far too common. So what can we do so our bodies don’t punish us with a surprise heart attack? Well, for a start we can be more conscious about what we eat. With that in mind, here are six foods to get you on the road to owning a happy, healthy heart.
What’s the key to a tomato’s heart-healthy power? It all starts with the phytonutrient that gives it its red color: lycopene. Lycopene packs a double whammy to aid heart disease prevention, serving as both an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, both of which help reduce cholesterol.
Tomatoes can easily be added to your diet by adding them to salads and sandwiches, mixing them in with sauces (spaghetti, anyone?), and even by drinking V8 or plain old boxed tomato juice.
Not only do nuts lower bad cholesterol levels (your LDL), they’re loaded with good fats and can help protect you against coronary heart disease. In fact, eating just five ounces of nuts a week can potentially cut your risk of heart disease in half.
Some exceptional nuts for glowing heart health are pine nuts, walnuts and almonds.
When you’re looking to cut your saturated fat intake but still want additional lip-smacking flavor to your food, turn to olive oil. Within this classic mediterranean offering, you’ll find nutrients that can lower blood pressure and reduce the arterial plaque that can cause heart attacks and strokes.
Besides choosing olive oil as your cooking oil of choice, you can also integrate this heart healthy food into your diet by using it as a dip for bread. For an added flavor bonus, add a glass of red wine to sip along with it.
Red grapes and dark chocolate
What do red grapes and dark chocolate have in common? They’re both rich in flavanols, which can help prevent blood clots and lower blood pressure. Additionally, the antioxidants in flavanols can help prevent bad cholesterol from clogging up your arteries.
To maximize your flavanol intake while munching on a bar of dark chocolate, choose one with 70% cocoa or higher, and with the least amount of sugar you can find.
Stock full of the antioxidant known as polyphenols, berries can help clean up the damage caused by free radicals that may be present in your body. They also lower the risk of stroke, thanks to the dose of fiber and vitamin C they bring you.
Besides raspberries, almost all types of berries can help lower the risk of heart disease. Excellent alternative options include blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries.
Want more dietary tips to boost your wellness? Get in touch with one of our nutritional experts today, and start eating healthier now.