Hippocrates said more than 2,000 years ago, “Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.” A cabinet full of prescription drugs can’t replace all the benefits of a heart-healthy diet. In honor of National Heart Month lets take a look at which foods promote heart health and how they prevent heart disease before medicine becomes necessary. A wide range of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes and lean proteins can help your heart stay healthy and strong. Here are a few examples of heart-healthy foods to incorporate into your diet and why:
- Oranges – fiber rich, which prevents cholesterol from being absorbed by the body & potassium lowers sodium & keeps blood pressure down. Citrus fruits also neutralize the galectin-3 protein that can scar heart tissue & lead to heart failure.
- Kale – boosts antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, potassium, vitamin E, plus it has an unusual compound, glucoraphanin which protects arteries from plaque build-up.
- Garlic – fights high blood pressure, also helps prevent plaque build-up in blood vessels and keeps them from constricting.
- Red wine – increases good cholesterol count (in moderation) which helps keep blood vessels flexible and reduces unwanted clotting.
- Dark Chocolate – rich in flavanols which also improve blood vessel flexibility and reduces blood pressure.
- Sardines – contain omega-3 fatty acids like most cold water fish, these “good fats” reduce risk of heart arrhythmias and inflammation. Inflammation is what ultimately destabilizes plaque that has built-up in blood vessels and produces a heart-attack inducing blood clot.
- Lentils – lean vegetable protein, fiber, magnesium and potassium all of which keep blood pressure under control.
- Almonds – rich in “good” HDL cholesterol and help reduce the “bad” LDL cholesterol. Walnuts, pistachios, and peanuts are also good.
- Pomegranates – reduce atherosclerosis by preventing the oxidation of “bad” cholesterol which is what creates plaque. Also activate an enzyme that breaks down oxidized cholesterol, plus they’re fun to eat!
Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States and the most effective remedies and methods of prevention are available at your local grocery store and can be ordered while out on a dinner date. Of course you won’t disease-proof your heart by simply adding these items to a diet full of doughnuts and bacon. So as always make smart choices and if you’re going to indulge in something fried and fatty do so in moderation.
- Top 9 Heart Healthy Foods (abcnews.go.com)
- Foods That Can Save Your Heart (tleonidas.wordpress.com)
- Have a Healthy Happy Valantine Heart! (webndbitesoflife.wordpress.com)
- How Does Cholesterol, Affects Blood Pressure? (ktrmurali.wordpress.com)
- Cholesterol- “To Be or Not To Be” (drkennethorbeck.com)
- Heart disease is an inflammation disease (drbradshook.com)