Summer is just around the corner, and there are more reasons than just aesthetic goals to eat healthier and clean up your nutrition. Heart disease is responsible for one-third of deaths globally, so to prioritize your overall and heart health, there are a few tasty foods that you can incorporate in your diet to maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels while keeping inflammation low.
5 foods for a healthy heart
1) Whole grains
Providing fiber and other valuable nutrients, whole grains help to regulate blood pressure and promote overall heart health. When you’re buying packaged goods, try to find labels that say “100% Whole Grain”, and if a product has more than one ingredient, make sure that whole wheat or other whole grains are first in the ingredients list. Good examples of whole grains to add to your everyday diet include ICON Meal's whole grain bread, pasta, bagels and tortillas, or whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and oats.
Legumes and beans can be a great low-fat source of protein for those looking to make healthier eating choices. Free from cholesterol and full of fiber, they are a heart-healthy food and can be a great meat substitute for those looking to reduce their red meat intake.
Adding healthy and polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats into your diet, like avocados, and avoiding or reducing saturated and trans fats can reduce your cholesterol and risk of heart disease. Of course, any fatty foods are calorically dense, so be sure to eat these in moderation to reap the intended benefits.
Full of antioxidants, berries like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and others are great for heart health. Combatting inflammation and oxidative stress, eating more berries can reduce your risk of heart disease, and can even regulate blood pressure and reduce clotting. Given that they’re low in calories by nature, they are a great addition to the diet of anyone who is trying to eat healthier.
Rounding out the list, garlic is a great source of a number of healthy and necessary nutrients, especially when consumed raw. It has recently been discovered how beneficial garlic can be for heart health, largely due to the compound allicin. Some studies have even found garlic consumption to be as effective as certain medications targeting high blood pressure, while also lowering cholesterol and reducing clotting.
Other foods like nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, fatty fish, and more can be great additions to your diet if you are focused on heart health. By adding the above foods to your everyday dishes and monitoring your portion sizes, you can ensure that you have a heart-healthy diet that will help regulate cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of clotting and strokes, and overall decrease your risk of heart disease.