10 Foods to Revitalize Your Heart Health

Cardiovascular diseases bear the burden of mortality on a global scale. The gamut of cardiovascular diseases encompasses several medical conditions of the heart, its blood vessels, the arteries, and everything related.

Heart diseases are a leading cause of death in the United States, which is about 1 in every 4 deaths.

Heart diseases are mostly linked to atherosclerosis, which involves the constriction of arterial walls as a result of plaque formation. This decreases the flow of blood to the heart. This disruption in the flow of blood can entail the emergence of heart diseases manifested by a heart attack, cardiac failure, stroke, and coronary artery diseases, among several others.

Heart-Healthy Foods

What you eat in your meals can either dwindle or promote your overall health.

Aside from consuming a balanced diet, make an addition of a rich profile of foods that includes a nutritious mix of antioxidants, fiber, good fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Such a dietary measure is a safe action plan to alleviate your heart problems and reduce the risk of impending heart disease to a great extent.

Here is the lowdown on an all-star team of 10 foods that will pave your way towards a healthy heart.

1. Feast on Salmon

Salmon is packed with reasonable amounts of omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Omega-3 fatty acids may lower blood pressure levels, reduce triglyceride levels, and suppress inflammation.

These healthy fats can reduce the risk of fatal arrhythmias and also contribute to mitigating high blood pressure levels.

The American Heart Association recommends two servings of salmon or other fatty fish per week to cut your risk of dying of a heart attack by up to one-third.

You can enjoy grilled or baked salmon and even include it in your pasta, soup, or salad. Similarly, feasting on other fatty fishes such as mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines can support your heart health.

2. Gulp Down a Glass of Red Wine

Red wine contains compounds called polyphenols that can nudge up your HDL levels. The antioxidant action of its component resveratrol protects the arterial walls and supports heart health by keeping a check on unwanted clotting.

Keeping in mind the benefits it bestows, excess consumption of alcoholic drinks has adverse effects on the heart.

Restrict yourself to a single glass for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men.

Caution: Partaking alcoholic drinks while on aspirin and certain other medications is a strict no.

3. Devour Blueberries

Blueberries contain copious amounts of antioxidants, namely, beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids), anthocyanin (a flavonoid), ellagic acid (a polyphenol), and vitamin C, all known to prevent plaque formation in the arteries by busting the oxidized LDL.

Consumption of blueberries is associated with controlled blood pressure. Partaking at least one serving of blueberries per week is related to a reduced chance of developing a high blood pressure by 10%.

You can add fresh or dried blueberries to your cereal, pancakes, or yogurt. Cranberries, strawberries, and raspberries are also good for heart health.

4. Chow Down a Handful of Walnuts

Walnuts are chock-full of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium, folate, fiber, and mono-and polyunsaturated fats, all known to promote cardiovascular health.

Partaking just a handful of walnuts may tamp down your cholesterol and inflammation in the arterial walls.

Snack on walnuts in between meals. You can also add them to your cookies, cakes, muffins, brownies, and salads for an added flavor.

5. Whip Up an Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a rich source of soluble fiber, which can help lower bad cholesterol by binding it in the digestive system and aiding in its removal. This keeps a check on LDL levels (the bad cholesterol) and helps keep your arteries clear.

Oats in all forms are good for people due to its low glycemic index, which helps regulate blood sugar levels.

To reap the benefits, start your day with a steaming bowl of oats and enjoy oat-based snacks throughout the day. Replace your refined flour with oats when you make your cookies and pancakes. Prefer plain, unprocessed oatmeal to the flavored and instant varieties.

6. Indulge in Some Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate in moderation has been known to lessen various cardiovascular diseases. The high concentration of cocoa in dark chocolates may help lower your blood pressure and improve your heart’s overall functioning and health.

The flavanols present in dark chocolate (containing at least 70%-80% cocoa) could improve blood flow to your heart and reduce free radical damage that can increase unwanted LDL.

Eating a square of dark chocolate daily can help you reap its benefits.

7. Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil, made from the first press of olives, is a repository of antioxidants called polyphenols, as well as healthy monounsaturated fats that are labeled as heart healthy.

Compared with other vegetable oils that are replete with cholesterol-inducing bad fats, olive oil is rich in “good fats.”

Regular consumption of extra virgin olive oil can help lower cholesterol levels and protect blood vessels. Use it in your culinary practices or as a dressing in your salads, steamed vegetables, soups, and bread.

8. Relish the Tanginess of Oranges

Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, well known for its cardioprotective abilities.

Besides that, oranges offer a slew of potentially heart-healthy nutrients such as beta-carotene, lutein, flavones, potassium, folate, and fiber that may help regulate high blood pressure, improve the functionality of blood vessels, and reduce artery inflammation.

  • Eat an orange or relish its juice.
  • You can try eating an orange as part of your breakfast in the morning or as a healthful afternoon snack.

9. Promote Your Heart Health with Black Beans

Black beans boast a brilliant composition of nutrients, including B complex vitamins, niacin, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and soluble fiber that can help lower total cholesterol, LDL levels, and blood sugar levels to normal.

Black beans are also a good source of dietary protein. Health experts recommend eating four or more servings of black beans per week to decrease your risk of heart disease.

  • Add beans in your soups and salads to give them a nutritional boost. Serve them as a side dish or a main dish.

10. Top Your Dishes with Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse. Brimming with omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds can potentially regulate blood pressure and reduce the levels of triglycerides.

Just a spoonful of chia seeds helps lower the risk of arrhythmia, reduces bad cholesterol, and aids in the reduction of plaque buildup.

These heart-healthy seeds offer maximum nutritional benefits and minimal calories.

Chia seeds can be eaten as it is. You can top your salads and yogurts with these seeds or blend them into smoothies or soups.

Heart Attack Vs. Cardiac Arrest

A heart attack is when a clot blocks the blood supply to the heart in the arteries. This can rob that part of the heart muscles of its supply of oxygen, resulting in a heart attack.

A cardiac arrest is when the efficiency of the heart to pump blood is reduced. As a result, the oxygen demands of the body are not met adequately. This can result in shortness of breath and loss of consciousness. In such a case, the patient needs to receive CPR immediately.

The Role of Diet in Heart Health

High cholesterol level is the main culprit behind heart diseases. Eating a diet that targets it can have a profound effect on your heart’s health. Along with regular exercise, a healthy meal is a powerful aid to prevent cardiovascular diseases by:

  • Reducing bad cholesterol levels
  • Maintaining good cholesterol levels
  • Lowering triglyceride levels
  • Lowering blood pressure levels
  • Backenting undesirable clotting

Limiting salt intake and reducing the consumption of bad fats are among the many ways that cover your heart health.

Although the curiosity about foods that make you vulnerable to heart diseases runs high among us, it is equally important to be aware of the relationship between heart health and what you eat.

An excellent move is to incorporate a regimen of healthy eating and exercise in your daily routine to be in the best of your health.

Right choices of lifestyle and food can prevent up to 70% of cases of heart diseases.

Risk Factors Related to Heart Diseases

Heart diseases are primarily caused by your age, family history, and lifestyle patterns that deviate from a healthy way of life.

Several causes including your lifestyle, your age, and family history can cause a snowball effect that starts from a minor blood pressure problem to significant diseases of the heart.

High blood pressure, smoking, alcohol, and high cholesterol levels are some of the risk factors in about 47% of Americans.

Hence, a shift in your lifestyle and dietary patterns can reduce the risks of heart disease at large.

Additional Tips

  • Follow an exercise regimen. Any form of physical activity can help you control your blood sugar, blood pressure, and sugar levels.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight to avoid obesity-induced cardiovascular diseases.
  • Manage your stress.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Restrict your alcohol consumption to a minimum.
  • Have adequate rest and sleep.
  • Include a cup of green tea in your diet.
  • Undergo a regular medical checkup to be aware of your health.

Closing Note

Heart diseases have emerged as a global threat due to the processed diet and erratic lifestyle that we follow.

Instead of waiting for red flags, a sound exercise regimen coupled with mindful eating can help you manage your blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar levels-the key players of cardiovascular diseases.

Arm your diet plan with the bonus of these heart-healthy foods as weapons to keep your heart functioning properly for years to come and reduce any chances of heart disease.

Resources:

  1. Heart Disease Facts & Statistics. Centers for Disease Control and Backention. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm. Published November 28, 2017.
  2. Fryar CD, Chen TC, Li X. Backalence of uncontrolled risk factors for cardiovascular disease: The United States, 1999-2010. NCHS Data Brief. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23101933. Published August 2012.
  3. Peter S, Chopra S, Jacob JJ. A fish a day, keeps the cardiologist away! – A review of the effect of omega-3 fatty acids in the cardiovascular system. Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3712371/. Published 2013.
  4. Bowen KJ, Harris WS, Kris-Etherton PM. Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease: Are There Benefits? Springer Open Choice. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5067287/. Published October 2016.
  5. Red wine: A drink to your heart – PubMed Central (PMC). Journal of Cardiovascular Disease Research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3023893/. Published 2010.
  6. Liberale L, Bonaventura A, Montecucco F, Dallegri F, Carbone F. Impact of Red Wine Consumption on Cardiovascular Health. Current Medicinal Chemistry. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28521683. Published May 17, 2017.
  7. Liberale L, Bonaventura A, Montecucco F, Dallegri F, Carbone F. Impact of Red Wine Consumption on Cardiovascular Health. Current Medicinal Chemistry. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28521683. Published May 17, 2017.
  8. Basu A, Du M, Leyva MJ, et al. Blueberries Decrease Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Obese Men and Women with Metabolic Syndrome. The Journal of Nutrition. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2924596/. Published September 2010.
  9. Zhao C-N, Meng X, Li Y, et al. Fruits for Backention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases. Nutrients MDPI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5490577/. Published June 2017.
  10. Kris-Etherton PM. Walnuts decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease: a summary of efficacy and biologic mechanisms. The Journal of Nutrition. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24500935. Published April 2014.
  11. Banel DK, Hu FB. Effects of walnut consumption on blood lipids and other cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis and systematic review. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2696995/. Published July 2009.
  12. Zhang J, Li L, Song P, et al. Randomized controlled trial of oatmeal consumption versus noodle consumption on blood lipids of urban Chinese adults with hypercholesterolemia. Nutrition Journal. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3489577/. Published August 2012.
  13. Rasane P, Jha A, Sabikhi L, Kumar A, Unnikrishnan VS. Nutritional advantages of oats and opportunities for its processing as value added foods-a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4325078/. Published February 2015.
  14. Kerimi A, Williamson G. The cardiovascular benefits of dark chocolate. Vascular Pharmacology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26026398. Published August 2015.
  15. Yuan S, Li X, Jin Y, Lu J. Chocolate Consumption and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease Stroke and Diabetes: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies. Nutrients MDPI. http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/9/7/688. Published July 2017.
  16. Nocella C, Cammisotto V, Fianchini L, et al. Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Cardiovascular Diseases: Benefits for Human Health. Endocrine, metabolic, and immune disorders drug targets. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29141571. Published 2018.
  17. Guasch-Ferré M, Hu FB, Martínez-González MA, et al. Olive oil intake and risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality in the PREDIMED Study. BMC Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24886626. Published May 13, 2014.
  18. Lv X, Zhao S, Ning Z, et al. Citrus fruits as a treasure trove of active natural metabolites that potentially provide benefits for human health. Chemistry Central Journal. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4690266/. Published December 24, 2015.
  19. Sharma P. Vitamin C Rich Fruits Can Backent Heart Disease. Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3689326/. Published July 2013.
  20. Ganesan K, Xu B. Polyphenol-Rich Dry Common Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and Their Health Benefits. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5713300/. Published November 2017.
  21. Reverri EJ, Randolph JM, Steinberg FM, et al. Black Beans, Fiber, and Antioxidant Capacity Pilot Study: Examination of Whole Foods vs. Functional Components on Postprandial Metabolic, Oxidative Stress, and Inflammation in Adults with Metabolic Syndrome. Nutrients MDPI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4555112/. Published August 2015.
  22. Ullah R, Nadeem M, Khalique A, et al. Nutritional and therapeutic perspectives of Chia (Salvia hispanica L.): a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27413203/. Published April 2016.
  23. Steptoe A, Kivimäki M. Stress and cardiovascular disease. Nature Reviews Cardiology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22473079. Published April 3, 2012.
  24. Covassin N, Singh P. Sleep duration and cardiometabolic risk: a review of the epidemiologic evidence. HHS Public Access. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3011978/. Published March 2016.
  25. Velayutham P, Babu A, Liu D. Green Tea Catechins and Cardiovascular Health: An Update. HHS Public Access. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2748751/. Published 2008.
  26. Appendix 9. Alcohol. health.gov. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/appendix-9/.
  27. Suggested Servings from Each Food Group. The American Heart Associations. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/suggested-servings-from-each-food-group. Published January 2017.

View Comments

Comments are closed.

Share
Published by
Kathy Rollin, RDN, ACE-CPT

Recent Posts

Mediterranean Diet 101: Benefits, Drawbacks, Myths and More

The Mediterranean diet emerges from the kind of foods eaten in countries situated along the Mediterranean Sea. These include France,…

2 months ago

Neem Oil for Hair and Skin: 9 Benefits and How to Use It

Neem is often referred to as Indian lilac as it is endemic to the Indian subcontinent, but its medicinal virtues…

2 months ago

Facial Tingling: Causes, Diagnosis, Natural Treatment

A sudden tingling sensation overtaking your hands, feet, or face is a fairly common complaint reported by people in the…

3 months ago

Depression 101 with Dr. Douglas Moll (Clinical Psychologist)

Is It Possible to Have Anxiety and Depression at the Same Time? Yes, it is not only possible but very…

3 months ago

Keto, Paleo, and Mediterranean: Choose the Best Diet for Your Body

While keeping a check on your portion sizes, following any healthy, balanced diet can help you achieve your desired weight,…

3 months ago

Forehead Wrinkles: How to Minimize and Reduce Their Appearance

There is no magic formula to turn back the clock on aging. As the years roll by, the steady onslaught…

3 months ago