Your heart is a muscle, and just like any other muscle in your body it needs to be exercised so it can stay strong. And just like any other muscle in your body, if you don't exercise it regularly then it can become weak. A weak heart is more likely to give out at an early age, which makes keeping your ticker healthy not only important for how long you live but also how long you feel good while living.
Beets are an excellent source of fiber, potassium and folate. They're also a great source of vitamins A and C as well as manganese, copper and phosphorus. Beets are packed with antioxidants that help protect our heart health by reducing inflammation in the body.
Tart cherries are a rich source of anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and improve heart health. They also have been shown to improve brain function by increasing blood flow to the brain by up to 40 percent.
Not only do tart cherries taste great, but they may also help you sleep better, look younger, and even prevent wrinkles!
Pistachios are an excellent source of vitamin B6, a nutrient that’s needed to help convert homocysteine into other compounds. A diet rich in vitamin B6 may also reduce the risk of heart disease, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
Pistachio nuts are also a good source of potassium and magnesium, both important for cardiovascular health. The American Heart Association recommends consuming less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day of sodium; pistachios contain no sodium! That’s why you should enjoy plenty as part of your heart-healthy diet—and not just as snacks: Add chopped or whole nuts to salads and other dishes for extra flavor without adding salt.
Whole grains are a rich source of fiber and other nutrients, including B vitamins and magnesium. In fact, the amount of fiber in whole grains is often double that found in refined grains. Whole grains also contain antioxidants that help to neutralize free radicals (unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to chronic diseases such as cancer).
Other heart-healthy foods include:
Plant-based foods are an important part of a heart-healthy diet. Potatoes are one of the best sources of potassium, which helps to lower blood pressure. They’re also full of fiber and vitamins like B6 and C. You can cook potatoes in many different ways: boiled, roasted or mashed.
Potatoes are a good source of potassium, but they also contain large amounts of sodium. If you have high blood pressure or other health issues that can be worsened by too much salt, try cooking them without added salt instead!
Oats are a whole grain food that is high in fiber and low in sodium. That means they fill you up, which can help with weight loss, and provide health benefits like lowering cholesterol. Oats also contain protein and heart-healthy fats to keep your heart healthy.
Oats may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering blood pressure and triglycerides, which are both linked to heart disease. They may also improve cholesterol levels by increasing the “good” HDL cholesterol while reducing the amount of LDL (bad) cholesterol in your body.
Avocados are a good source of potassium, which helps lower blood pressure. They’re also rich in fiber and monounsaturated fat, which can help to reduce cholesterol levels. Avocado is also rich in vitamin E, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Avocado isn’t just heart-healthy because it contains nutrients that are good for your cardiovascular system—it’s also delicious! But when choosing your avocado, be sure you buy one that is ripe but not overripe (think: soft), and resist the urge to cut into it until you get home from the store (a knife will bruise the flesh). Once at home, slice off both ends of each avocado with a sharp knife. Then score around its middle lengthwise and twist each half apart from the peel by pulling them apart vertically. Use a spoon to scoop out all those lovely green goodies inside!
Salmon is full of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation in the body and can even help lower cholesterol levels. It's also high in protein and vitamin D—both essential for a healthy heart. So if your aim is to keep your ticker ticking for as long as possible, then make sure you're getting plenty of salmon into your diet!
Flaxseed is a good source of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and lignans. It's also a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber—a nutrient that helps keep your digestive system healthy by improving bowel function and reducing the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Flaxseed can help lower cholesterol naturally as well as help reduce inflammation in the body.
Flaxseed is an excellent choice for those with diabetes because it's low on the glycemic index (GI) scale at 37 points; foods on this scale are considered low if they have a GI score of 55 or less and medium if they have a GI score between 56 to 69 points; high-GI foods have scores higher than 70 points.
Beans are a rich source of fiber, protein, folate, magnesium and iron. They also contain significant amounts of zinc. The average American diet is low in dietary fiber and high in sodium. Beans help to fill that gap by providing both soluble and insoluble fibers as well as being low in sodium. In fact, one cup provides half the recommended daily value for fiber!
While most beans are rich sources of plant-based protein (12g per 1/2 cup serving), chickpeas are especially so (18g). Beans also contain many B vitamins including folate which is important for cardiovascular health since it helps lower homocysteine levels in the blood - a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Eating these heart-healthy foods will help you keep your heart healthy.
If you're eating a heart-healthy diet, you'll probably want to include these foods in your meals.
Olive oil: This is one of the healthiest oils you can use in cooking and baking. It's loaded with monounsaturated fats, which help lower bad cholesterol levels. Use olive oil to sauté vegetables and make sauces for pasta dishes.
Fish: Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish may help prevent heart disease by decreasing triglyceride levels and preventing blood clots from forming inside arteries or veins that lead directly to the heart or brain. Try salmon, tuna steak or canned light tuna (packed in water) for a quick protein source that's also good for your heart.
Overall, there are many healthy foods you can eat to keep your heart healthy. The best way to make sure you include them in your diet is by making your meals from scratch. This means that you’ll have more control over what goes into each meal and will know exactly what ingredients are being used.
Don't forget to check our latest Beard Trimmers at Beard Guru