Your heart is a special part of us, a machine that keeps us going. To keep it working optimally, you must provide it with heart-healthy nutrition. That means you should eat a balanced diet. Certain meals provide significant cardiovascular advantages, but what do you choose? Over one in every ten Americans has been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease.
Choosing the appropriate nutritious meals can help you avoid cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary artery disease, resulting in a heart attack or stroke. A balanced diet can benefit both your heart and your waistline. When it comes to heart health, we frequently hear about what not to eat. In this Spotlight, we highlight ten items that, when consumed as part of a balanced diet, may help maintain a healthy heart.
Number 1: Asparagus
Asparagus is a natural source of folate, which helps prevent the accumulation of an amino acid called homocysteine in the body. Homocysteine levels above a certain threshold have been associated with an increased risk of developing heart-related illnesses such as coronary artery disease and stroke.
Number 2: Salmon
Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help prevent irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias), lower lipid levels, reduce plaque building in your arteries, and slightly lower blood pressure. The American Heart Association suggests that you consume two servings of omega-3-rich foods per week, such as salmon. The serving size of cooked fish is 3.5 ounces.
Salmon is a highly adaptable meal. Grill it with a rub or marinade, slice some and toss it into a fat-free marinara sauce, or toss it into salads for an extra protein boost.
Number 3: Oatmeal
Oatmeal is another wonderful morning item that is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, it is a fibre powerhouse, providing 4 grams with every one-cup meal. Additionally, it contains magnesium, potassium, and iron.
Oatmeal is a full breakfast option, and you can add fresh berries to make it even more heart-healthy. Make fat-free oatmeal cookies, oat toast, or a turkey burger meatloaf with whole rolled oats.
Number 4: Green Veggies
Green vegetables. Popeye was correct: spinach is a powerful food! Additionally, they are high in dietary nitrates, which have been demonstrated to lower blood pressure, reduce arterial stiffness, and increase the function of blood vessel cells. Studies have discovered a correlation between increasing your leafy green vegetable diet and a decreased risk of heart disease. Substitute these sandwiches and salads for lettuce and Broccoli are nutrient-dense vegetables high in vitamins C and E, potassium, calcium, and fibre.
Number 5: Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is beneficial to your cardiovascular health. The higher the cocoa content, the better! (With increased cocoa, fibre and protein levels increase, while sugar levels fall.) If you’re a milk chocolate connoisseur. Begin with at least 70% cocoa.
Number 6: Beans, either black or kidney
You’re familiar with the elementary school chant, “Beans, beans, healthy for your heart.” As it turns out, this is true! Beans are high in soluble fibre, B vitamins, niacin, folate, magnesium, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Beans are incredibly versatile. They are delicious in soups, stews, and salads. Or turn them into dinner.
Try black beans on a whole-grain pita tostada with avocado, or load bell peppers with black beans, corn kernels, and onions. For a cucumber salad, fresh corn, onions, and peppers add canned kidney beans and mix with olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Alternatively, combine black beans and kidney beans for a delectable, healthy vegetarian chilli.
Number 7: Almonds
Almonds have been demonstrated to reduce blood cholesterol levels. Additionally, almonds are an excellent choice for a heart-healthy nut. They are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids from plants, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, fibre, and heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Almonds are quite simple to eat — you can sprinkle nut slivers on your yoghurt or salad or nibble on a nutritious trail mix. Additionally, you can use them in cooking. Sprinkle them over rice or quinoa or put them over fish for a crunch. Select unsalted almonds for added cardiovascular protection.
Choose raw or dry-roasted almonds (rather than oil-roasted), and keep portion amounts in mind. While they are beneficial to the heart, they are also heavy in fat and much-saturated fat. As with other nuts, almonds are high in calories, and a small amount goes a long way. They are best consumed sparingly.
Number 8: Tuna
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in tuna. Although tuna may not contain as many omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, it contains a reasonable quantity. Additionally, one serving of tuna delivers approximately half of your daily requirement of niacin, a nutrient that may improve your chances of survival after a heart attack.
Tuna salad (low on the mayo) is a quick and filling lunch snack. Tuna is an excellent salad garnish and may also be cooked to create a delectable entrée.
Choose Tuna in Cans
Tuna in cans is one of the most popular types of seafood in the United States. However, with so many options, selecting the proper can might be challenging. The two most prevalent varieties are white tuna, derived from albacore, and light tuna, which is manufactured from smaller tuna varieties (usually skipjack). White contains more omega-3 fatty acids and contains more mercury, which is particularly concerning for pregnant people.
Some tuna is packaged in oil, while others are packaged in water. Tuna in water contains a substantially higher concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. That is because a significant amount of the omega-three fat is lost and the oil that is drained from the container.
Number 9: Brown Rice
Brown rice is not only delicious; it also contributes to a heart-healthy diet. Brown rice is an excellent source of B vitamins, magnesium, and fibre.
You can’t go wrong with brown rice in almost any cuisine. Brown rice cooked in the microwave with a few chopped vegetables offers an easy and quick meal. Combine it with black beans or tofu, stir-fry it, add it to soups, or serve it cold in an avocado salad.
Number 10: Blue Berries
Berries are beneficial to the heart and the rest of the body. Blueberries are high in nutrients that contribute to a healthy diet, such as beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids), anthocyanin (a flavonoid), ellagic acid (a polyphenol), vitamin C, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and fibre.
Berries make an excellent nutritious snack on their own or on top of cereal or pancakes or blend into a smoothie, drizzled over low-fat yoghurt, or sprinkled on a salad.
Doesn’t it all sound so yummy and easy to try? Will you start your healthy routine?
The relationship between nutrition and heart disease continues to strengthen as fresh research accumulates. What you eat has a significant impact on nearly every element of heart health, from blood pressure and inflammation to cholesterol and triglyceride levels. By incorporating these heart-healthy foods into a nutritious, well-balanced diet, you can help maintain a healthy heart and reduce your risk of heart disease.