A healthy heart is important for overall health. Adopting a healthy lifestyle at any age can reduce the risk of heart disease and lower your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. You can never be too old or too young to start caring for your heart. You have direct control over many factors that can affect your heart health. It is entirely up to you how seriously you hold this responsibility. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is simple for some folks. Others will only do so only after being diagnosed with a heart disease symptom.
Avoiding fast food and overly processed foods isn’t the only way to keep your heart healthy. You can also pump up your heart’s health by eating foods that help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation. Let’s get started with the top ten healthy foods for a healthy lifestyle.
1. Oats and barley
The cell walls of oats and barley contain a type of soluble fibre known as beta-glucan, which has a variety of health benefits. Beta-glucans bind to bile acids and cholesterol in the intestines, restricting their absorption into the body. According to research, eating 3 grams of beta-glucans per day can lower cholesterol by up to 10%.
Oats may improve heart health by lowering total and Low-Density Lipoproteins (LPL) cholesterol levels and defending LDL cholesterol from oxidation. Oats are an ideal buy for those suffering from atherosclerosis or attempting to avoid clogged arteries. Consuming oats on a daily basis can effectively lessen atherosclerosis risk factors such as high levels of total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Oatmeal is a nutrient-dense food that is high in vitamins and minerals but low in calories as well.
Barley, which is a versatile grain, has a mildly chewy texture and a slightly nutty flavour that complements a wide range of dishes. It’s also high in nutrients and has a long list of health benefits, including improved digestion and weight loss, as well as lower cholesterol levels and a healthier heart. Whole grains have consistently been linked to improved heart health. As a result, this should come as no surprise that including barley in your diet on a regular basis may reduce your risk of heart disease. High blood pressure and “bad” LDL cholesterol, both of which are risk factors for heart disease, may be reduced by barley.
2. Leafy green vegetables
Leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collard greens, are well-known for their high vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant content. They’re particularly high in vitamin K, which guards your arteries and supports better blood clotting. Greens have few calories, and of course, maintaining a healthy weight is essential for good heart health. Leafy greens help to maintain a healthy heart in a variety of ways. They contain potassium, which helps to lower blood pressure, fibre, which helps to keep cholesterol in check, and folate, which helps to prevent heart disease and stroke. Their wide range of antioxidants could also protect against free radical damage, which is a major cause of atherosclerosis.
3. Fish oil and fatty fish
Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna, are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are being widely investigated for their heart-health advantages. Several studies have linked long-term fish consumption to lower levels of total cholesterol, blood triglycerides, fasting blood sugar, and systolic blood pressure. If you don’t eat a lot of seafood, fish oil can be another way to get your omega-3 fatty acid fix. Supplementing with fish oil has been shown to lower blood triglycerides, optimize arterial function, and lower blood pressure.
The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish may help reduce the risk of abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias). They’re also good for heart health because they may lower triglyceride levels, which is a type of fat in the blood, and slow the accumulation of arterial plaque.
Broccoli is beneficial to heart health because it contains fibres, fatty acids, and vitamins that help in blood pressure regulation. According to some studies, eating steamed broccoli on a regular basis can help lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease. Broccoli also helps to protect blood vessels from damage. Some research also suggests that specific antioxidants found in broccoli may lower your overall risk of a heart attack.
Asparagus is a natural source of folate, which enables the prevention of the amino acid homocysteine from accumulating in the body. High homocysteine levels have been linked to a higher risk of heart-related conditions like coronary artery disease and stroke. Asparagus has powerful anti-inflammatory properties as well as high levels of antioxidants, which may help lower the chances of heart disease. Asparagus’ insoluble fiber binds to any cholesterol in your digestive system and carries it out before you absorb it. Asparagus also contains potassium, which can help lower cholesterol and control your heartbeat.
6. Whole grain
Several studies have found that consuming more whole grains can boost your heart health. Whole grains contain all three nutrient-dense components of the grain: germ, endosperm, and bran. Whole grains contain more fibre than refined grains, which may help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease, the world’s leading cause of death, by up to 30%. Whole wheat, brown rice, oats, rye, barley, buckwheat, and quinoa are a few common whole grains. Protein, fibre, B vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals like iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium are all found in whole grains. That is why it is recommended that we include whole grains in our daily diet.
7. Nuts and seeds
Unsalted nuts and seeds are also rich in potassium, magnesium, and other blood pressure-lowering minerals. Almost all nuts are high in heart-healthy nutrients such as vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, and unsaturated fats. They may assist in lowering cholesterol, reducing inflammation, improving blood vessel health, and bringing down your risk of heart disease. Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, macadamia nuts, and cashews are a few examples of nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds help to regulate body weight, food intake and help burn energy as their fats are not fully absorbed. A well-maintained body mass in turn crafts a healthy heart. Nuts and seeds also help to maintain healthy blood vessels and blood pressure due to their high arginine content.
Oranges are sweet and juicy, and they contain the cholesterol-fighting fibre pectin. They also contain potassium, which regulates blood pressure control. According to one study, drinking two cups of orange juice per day improved blood vessel health. It also lowers blood pressure. Their soluble fibre and flavonoids may help raise good HDL cholesterol while lowering bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Berries are also high in antioxidants like anthocyanins, which protect against oxidative stress and inflammation, which make a significant contribution to heart disease advancement. A few studies claim that eating blueberries on a daily basis improves the function of cells that line blood vessels, which supports in the control of blood pressure and clotting. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries that are high in nutrients promote heart health. Berries can be a filling snack or a scrumptious low-calorie dessert. Try incorporating a few different types into your diet to enjoy the benefits of their distinct healing properties.
Dried beans and lentils, such as garbanzo, pinto, kidney, or black beans, are high in fibre, B vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients. Eating legumes on a regular basis may help lower total and LDL cholesterol levels. According to the research, beans and other legumes benefit cardiovascular health because they are high in fibre, plant protein, and other micronutrients while being low in fat, cholesterol-free, and low on the glycemic index. Because of their high levels of soluble fibre, legumes benefit the heart.
Be sure to choose healthy foods to have a healthy heart and a pleasant lifestyle. It’s also important to give yourself the choice to eat something you want every now and then. So don’t feel bad about treating yourself as a reward for eating healthily. Just make sure you aren’t overindulging yourself.