Heart disease is one of the main causes of death throughout the world. Eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fat and sugar can be very helpful. What is more, you can improve the health of your cardiovascular system by adding the following heart-healthy foods in your diet:
Green leafy vegetables
Green leafy vegetables contain a lot of fiber, vitamin E and folic acid. Folic acid helps regulate the levels of homocysteine, which are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Spinach, broccoli, lettuce, and Brussels sprouts are very good choices.
Legumes are rich in fiber, protein, iron and many other nutrients. Try to eat them at least 1 to 2 times per week.
Nuts are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can protect the health of the heart. Nut consumption is associated with a reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease. You can eat any kind of nuts, like walnuts, almonds, cashews and pistachios, but keep in mind that they should be unsalted. The recommended amount is 30g of nuts per day or about a small handful. This amount provides you with about 185 calories.
The nutritional value of olive oil is well known. Olive oil consumption reduces the risk of heart disease, as it reduces the levels of bad LDL cholesterol. Cook with it, add it to your salads, but keep in mind that is should be eaten in moderation! One tablespoon per meal (135 calories) is the ideal amount to enjoy its benefits.
Salmon is probably the No. 1 food for cardiovascular protection! This fish contains high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids, which lower triglycerides, blood pressure, inflammation and thrombosis. Make sure you eat salmon at least 2 times per week. Some other good alternatives apart from salmon are mackerel, herring, sardines, trout and tuna. However, you need to avoid frying them.
Red wine is rich in polyphenols, which support heart’s health. Of course, for it to be beneficial, it should be consumed in small quantities. This means one serving for women and two for men (1 serving = 175ml).
Blueberries contain anthocyanins and are packed with fiber and vitamin C. What is more, they contain the compound pterostilebene, which may help fight heart disease and diabetes. According to researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pterostilebene is similar to another antioxidant called resveratrol, but is actually significantly better at lowering LDL cholesterol, blood fats and blood sugar levels.