A healthy diet can significantly boost your heart health, reducing your risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular issues. Here are the top seven foods that are not only delicious but also packed with nutrients that promote a healthier heart.
Salmon (Omega-3 Fatty Acids)
Salmon, a prime source of omega-3 fatty acids, is an excellent food for heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids provide a whole host of health benefits—they reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, lower triglyceride levels, decrease “bad” cholesterol levels, increase “good” cholesterol levels, and more. A clinical study published in Nutrition Journal shows that most Americans aren’t consuming enough omega-3 fatty acids. (1)
Berries—including blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries—are packed with nutrients essential to your heart health. All of these berries are high in anthocyanins, which gives them antioxidant properties (in addition to their beautiful colors). Regular intake of berries may help heart health, according to a study in the journal Circulation. (2)
Dark Chocolate (Flavonoids)
Good news for chocolate lovers! Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, antioxidants linked to lower blood pressure and improved heart health. Remember to favor dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao, since sugary chocolate has a high calorie count which may somewhat offset its other health benefits.
Avocados (Monounsaturated Fats)
Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats and are known to lower bad cholesterol levels and raise the good. They are also high in fiber and antioxidants, contributing to overall cardiovascular health by aiding in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and combating inflammation, a risk factor for heart disease. Their health benefits are backed by a study in the Journal of the American Heart Association. (3)
Green Tea (Flavonoids)
Green tea is rich in antioxidants called flavonoids, which are believed to boost heart health, as described above. Flavonoids are also known to lower both total and LDL cholesterol levels and improve the function of blood vessels, which can help reduce blood pressure.
Red Wine (Resveratrol)
Red wine has been associated with a range of health benefits when consumed in moderation, primarily because of its high content of a type of antioxidant called resveratrol. Resveratrol has been linked to heart health benefits, including reducing inflammation and helping prevent damage to blood vessels. It may also help reduce LDL cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol that can build up in arteries and cause heart disease.
Organ Meats (CoQ10)
Organ meats, such as heart, liver, and kidney, are rich in Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a compound crucial for heart health. CoQ10 helps generate energy in cells and acts as an antioxidant. This is confirmed by a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. (4)
While many foods are good for your health, some are better than others. In addition to the ones already mentioned, nuts, certain vegetables, whole grains, beans, and other foods can all help maintain a good, healthy heart. Make sure to exercise and keep a nutritious, varied diet to take care of your heart like it deserves.