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9 Foods for a Healthier Heart
Your heart is the organ responsible for pumping blood throughout your entire body, keeping all of your cells alive by providing them with oxygen and vital nutrients. There are few organs as important as your heart, which is why it’s imperative that you keep it as healthy as possible. Below, is a list of foods for a healthier heart, and all you have to do improve cardiovascular function is simply add them to your diet!
Turns out your morning bowl of oatmeal is actually a lot healthier than you’d expect! Oats are loaded with dietary fiber that can lower cholesterol, reducing the risk of arterial blockages. The fiber will actually soak up the cholesterol and stop it from being absorbed into your body. A few more servings per week will be great for your heart.
Specifically dark, unsweetened chocolate with a cocoa content at least 70% or higher. This dark, delicious stuff is loaded with antioxidants that can drastically reduce non-fatal strokes and heart attacks, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. You can also lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of blood clots with chocolate.
Almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, and pecans are all high in fat, but most of that fat is in the form of Omega fatty acids and Vitamin E. Vitamin E has a special cardioprotective benefit thanks to its ability to coat the walls of your intestines with a cholesterol-resistant lining. Vitamin E and good fats (like those found in nuts) can do wonders to lower your cholesterol levels.
Salmon is definitely one of the best-known foods for a healthier heart, thanks to its high Omega-3 fatty acid content. Omega-3s can help to reduce inflammation, prevent arrhythmias, and stop plaque from building up in your arteries. It’s recommended you eat fatty fish—not just salmon, but also sardines, anchovies, and tuna—at least twice a week for your heart’s sake.
The Vitamin C in citrus fruits can help to encourage weight loss, but it can also combat oxidative stress that can strain your heart muscles and lead to heart attacks. You’ll find that eating more lemons, oranges, and grapefruits can decrease your risk of heart disease, lower your cholesterol, and reduce inflammation. Plus, they’re great for your immune system!
All berries are loaded with important antioxidants, but few can come close to blueberries in terms of variety. Blueberries contain more than 30 different antioxidants, each of which serve different functions to improve your cardiovascular health and decrease free radical damage. The anthocyanins and flavonoids in blueberries will do wonders to strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system.
Green tea is loaded with antioxidants that can reduce oxidative stress on your heart and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Not only can the antioxidants improve your heart health overall, but studies have discovered that they can reduce mortality rates in cases of heart disease.
Potatoes may be a starch, but they’re also loaded in potassium that can help to reduce water retention. Potassium works with sodium to balance your fluid levels, and a higher intake of potassium will do wonders to flush excess liquids from your body. Plus, the high fiber content of potatoes makes them awesome for your heart health.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This type of olive oil contains a high dose of vital fatty acids, including Omega-3 fatty acids. The monounsaturated fats in olive oil can help to fight off cholesterol and lower your blood sugar levels. Both green and black olives are a bonus source of these critical nutrients.