Heart disease is the number one leading cause of death worldwide. Certain foods can affect cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and inflammation, which are risk factors for heart disease. By consuming less salt, red meat, and sugary beverages, you can greatly lower your risk of heart disease. Here's a list of heart-healthy foods you should be eating instead.
1. LEAFY GREEN VEGETABLES
Multiple studies have shown that leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collard greens lower the risk of heart disease. That's because they're rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They're also high in vitamin K and nitrates, which protect your arteries and support the cells lining the blood vessels.
Berries are not only a yummy snack, but they're also great for the heart. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries have high levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect against the oxidative stress and inflammation that cause the development of heart disease.
3. FATTY FISH
Salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel have tons of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for heart health. Since your body can't make omega-3 fatty acids itself, it's very important to consume them in your diet. So load up on fatty fish to increase your omega-3 intake. You can also consume a lot of nuts and seeds (i.e. chia seeds, walnuts, etc.) and plant oils (i.e. soybean oil, flaxseed oil, etc.), which are rich in the nutrient as well.
4. OLIVE OIL
Like the other foods we mentioned, olive oil is jam-packed with antioxidants, which help fight inflammation and decrease the risk of heart disease. So don't hesitate to cook with it, drizzle it over your salads, or add it to your vinaigrettes and sauces.
5. WHOLE GRAINS
Whole grain bread, pasta, oatmeal, and high-fiber cereal are great sources of fiber, which plays a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health. To reap the benefits, substitute refined grain products (i.e. white bread, pies, etc.) with whole-grain foods.
By simply eating more fruits, vegetables, leaner meats, and whole grains, you can help keep your heart in good shape and minimize your risk of heart disease.