The prevalence of heart diseases is increasing like anything nowadays. Around 7.9 million global deaths account for cardiovascular diseases. The changing dietary habits and lifestyle are two main culprits behind the deteriorating heart health; with diet being predominant. In this article, let us discuss 9 superfoods that will improve your heart health and defend against several cardiovascular diseases. So let’s get started!
Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, coriander leaves, celery, lettuce, collards, wheatgrass, beet greens, etc are packed with nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, dietary fiber, folate, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and several antioxidants. Being a rich source of dietary fiber, it hinders the absorption of fats and cholesterol during nutrient absorption in the small intestines, thus reducing body fat levels.
Vitamin K is known to promote proper blood coagulation and protects the walls of your arteries too. Green vegetables are rich in nitrates which have been scientifically proven to reduce cardiovascular risk factors. Nitrates help regulate blood pressure and increase arterial flexibility, protecting it from injuries. If you find it difficult to have green leafy vegetables every day, you can include supplements like the wheatgrass supplement or super greens supplement in your routine.
Oily fish are loaded with a specific type of polyunsaturated fatty acid called omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3 fats are renowned for their cardioprotective properties. These are a rich source of marine calcium and high-quality protein as well.
Scientific studies show that regular consumption of oily fishes like salmon, mackerel, and sardines can reduce the total triglycerides, blood cholesterol, inflammation, pressure, and blood sugar as well. All these are notorious risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. It also prevents irregular heartbeat beats known as arrhythmia and keeps plaque formation at bay.
Nuts are a good source of unsaturated fatty acids;having both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. These are known for reducing the levels of bad LDL cholesterol and hiking up the levels of good HDL cholesterol. This will prevent the formation of plaques in the arteries.
These arerich in arginine, which is essential for producing nitric oxide that helps to relax the arteries, make them flexible and thus prevent atherogenesis. They are rich in antioxidant vitamin E, which prevents oxidative damage to the cardiovascular system. Nuts are also rich in several phytonutrients, which serve as potent antioxidants within our body.
Berries are stuffed with several functional nutrients that play an active role in uplifting your heart health. They are high in antioxidants like anthocyanins, ellagic acid, resveratrol, and phytonutrients that reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. They are a good source of dietary fiber that has hypo-cholesterolemic (lowering cholesterol) and hypo-glycemic (lowering blood sugar) effects.
Berries significantly reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, blood pressure, and check plaque formation. It nurtures the cell lining of the artery and protects it. Not a big fan of berries? Try taking super red capsules that enclose several berry extracts with other health-promoting elements too.
Green tea enhances your overall health, especially cardiovascular health. They have powerful natural antioxidant catechins that help build up an arterial wall, make them pliable, and protect the inner lining from damage. It counteracts the harmful effects of homocysteine by protecting the smooth muscles of arteries and promoting the healthy growth of cardiovascular tissues.
Green tea is also scientifically proven to reduce the total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in the body. This prevents plaque formation and subsequent blockage of the artery. The epicatechins found in green tea significantly reduce both the systolic and diastolic pressure.
Whole grains have germ, endosperm, and bran that are jam-packed with nutrients. The bran has the majority of fiber, and the germ has lots of nutrients in it. The endosperm has a greater amount of carbohydrates packed within it. Whole grains are the healthiest source of carbohydrates. Including whole grains like whole wheat, rye, oats, barley, quinoa, millets, etc in your diet will benefit your heart health.
They can help reduce your blood pressure, body weight, and levels of bad LDL cholesterol. Regular and adequate intake of whole grains can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes up to 32%. Did you knowthat type 2 diabetes is a predominant risk factor for developing severe cardiovascular diseases?
Mussels, owing to their high omega 3 fatty acids, are very beneficial for your heart. As said earlier, omega 3 fatty acids help to lower bad cholesterol, blood pressure and prevent plaque formation that might subsequently block adequate blood circulation. It also regularizes the heartbeat by keeping arrhythmia at bay.
Talking about mussels, have you heard of the New Zealand native green-lipped mussels? These are miraculously high in the form of omega 3, known as eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA). ETA is several times more potent than the typical omega-3 fats in protecting your cardiovascular health. If you aren’t a big fan of seafood, try a green-lipped mussels oil supplement to harness its health benefits.
Chia, flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, and hemp seeds have several cardioprotective effects. All of them are loaded with numerous nutrients and dietary fiber. Flaxseed has an antioxidant, Lignan, that has strong anti-inflammatory properties. This reduces several inflammatory markers that might injure the endothelium of the blood vessels.
Chia seeds are rich in soluble fibers and alpha-linoleic acid, which helps to reduce cholesterol and oxidative damage. Pumpkin seeds are rich in phytosterols, and hemp seeds are one of the complete plant proteins. Seeds help protect the inner lining of the blood vessels and prevent cardiovascular muscle weakness.
Smiling, huh? Yup, several scientific studies have shown red wine to be a very good cardiovascular health promoter when consumed in ‘moderation’. The red wine made from grapes is rich in resveratrol, catechin, epicatechin, and proanthocyanidins. The polyphenols in it help the body to produce nitric oxide that helps to relax the blood vessels.
It also prevents vascular injury and adherence of plaque-forming inflammatory markers onto the cell walls. Wines, especially red wines, help to spike up good cholesterol levels. They have an antithrombotic effect that prevents the formation of plaques in arteries.
That’s it, dear pals. A proper diet with low fat, low salt, an adequate amount of the above-mentioned heart-healthy foods, and regular exercise will help you to maintain your cardiovascular health. I hope this article was helpful for you. Which heart-healthy food is your favorite? Comment below!