Eating for a healthy heart means filling your plate with fruits and vegetables, paying attention to fiber, eating fish a couple times a week and limiting unhealthy fats like saturated and Trans fats, as well as salt. To boost your heart health, start by changing what’s on your plate.
Swap white potatoes for sweet potatoes. With a low glycemic index, these spuds won’t cause a quick spike in blood sugar. They also have fiber, vitamin A, and lycopene.
One banana has 422 mg, about 12 percent of your recommended daily dose, of potassium. The potassium in bananas helps maintain normal heart function and the balance of sodium and water in the body.
Potassium helps the kidneys excrete excess sodium, thereby contributing to healthy blood pressure. This mineral is especially important for people taking diuretics for heart disease, which combat sodium and water retention but also strip potassium from the body in the process.
Sweet and juicy, oranges have the cholesterol-fighting fiber pectin. They also have potassium, which helps control blood pressure. In one study, 2 cups of OJ a day boosted blood vessel health. It also lowered blood pressure in men. A medium orange has about 62 calories and 3 grams of fiber.
People who eat plenty of whole grains tend to be leaner and have a lower risk of heart disease than those who don’t. This is probably because whole grains contain antioxidants, phytoestrogens and phytosterols that are protective against coronary disease.
Try this nutty whole grain in place of rice. You can also simmer barley into soups and stews. The fiber in barley can help lower cholesterol levels. It may lower blood sugar levels, too.
Eating beans regularly is good for your heart, and you don’t need to eat a lot of them to benefit produces changes in short-chain fatty acids that can inhibit cholesterol formation.Other components in beans also may be responsible for the cholesterol-lowering effect.
Beans contain a variety of heart-protective chemicals, including flavonoids, compounds also found in wine, berries and chocolate that inhibit the adhesion of platelets in the blood, which can help lower risk for heart attack and strokes.
Slivered almonds go well with vegetables, fish, chicken, and desserts. They have plant sterols, fiber, and heart-healthy fats. Almonds may help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol. Grab a small handful a day.
An excellent source of vitamin C, plus vitamin A, potassium and fiber, tomatoes are high in lycopene, which works with other vitamins and minerals to aid in disease prevention.
Cooking may actually increase the health benefits of this lush fruit because although cooked tomatoes have less vitamin C, their lycopene is more available and antioxidant activity is undiminished by cooking.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This oil, made from the first press of olives, is especially rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, which can help protect your blood vessels. It’s also a good source of mono unsaturated fats, which are a better choice than saturated fats (such as butter) for your cholesterol.
Researchers have discovered that eating moderate amounts of flavanol-rich dark chocolate has a blood-thinning effect, which can benefit cardiovascular health, and it may also boost the immune system by reducing inflammation. Be sure to choose dark chocolate, ideally one that’s 70 percent cocoa solids, milk chocolate lacks significant levels of epicatechin.