There has been a sharp rise in the number of cardiovascular diseases in recent years. While your lifestyle and exercise or lack of it, do have an impact on cardiovascular health, food plays a crucial role as well.
Thus, you can keep your cardiovascular health intact by choosing what you eat and what you do not. The following is a list of the top 5 foods that are healthy for your heart and you must include in your diet.
You cannot go wrong with any of the berries. Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and berries, in general, are packed with nutrients that your heart benefits from. Berries are a rich source of antioxidants such as anthocyanins. These help against inflammation and oxidative stress. Berries also have a high content of fiber, which is known to regulate blood sugar levels, which can help in reducing heart-related diseases.
- Dark Chocolate:
Dark chocolates are good sources of antioxidants like flavonoids. Flavonoids are known to reduce the risk of heart diseases and boost a healthy heart. Apart from being rich in flavonoids, a study shows that flavanols that are found in chocolate and cocoa have other benefits as well. They improve the flow of blood to the brain and the heart, make the blood platelets less sticky and lower the blood pressure.
- Dark Leafy Veggies:
Dark leafy vegetables such as collard greens, spinach, and kale are rich sources of Vitamin K. And Vitamin K is known for promoting blood clots and protecting your arteries as well. Dark leafy vegetables also have higher quantities of dietary nitrates, which reduce arterial stiffness, reduce blood pressure, and improve the functions of the cell lining of the blood vessels.
There are quite a few studies that show a direct correlation between lower risk of heart related disease and consumption of dark leafy vegetables.
- Fish Oil:
There are very limited sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. And fatty fish such as sardines, mackerel, and salmon make for good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. A study shows that a reduction in consumption of fatty fish results in a 19% higher risk of heart diseases. Also, eating fish in long term can lead to lower cholesterol levels, better blood pressure, and blood glucose levels.
- Green Tea:
Green tea serves as an amazing source of catechins and polyphenols. They both act as antioxidants and thus help in reducing inflammation, protecting the health of your heart, reducing damage to the cell, and so on. Green tea also has some properties to burn fat along with providing you with a calming effect. Some studies also show that consumption of green tea leads to better blood pressure regulation.
While you should eat the above food, there are a few food items that you must avoid. Try to avoid trans fats, as they increase your LDL or cholesterol levels. Avoiding processed sugar is also recommended.
The above food items along with regular exercise will help you maintain a healthy heart.