Can we just take a moment to appreciate your heart? Long before you were even born, when you were still a tiny embryo a mere 6 weeks old, your heart began beating. And it’s been quietly chugging along, circulating your blood and distributing the oxygen and nutrients you need to survive and thrive throughout your entire body.
Your heart is an incredible piece of machinery that literally keeps you alive, so it’s worth making a little extra effort to help it stay in tip-top shape for your entire lifetime. That’s why a few months ago I shared the details on three foods your heart craves that you should add to your menu.
Hopefully you’ve already done that. Today I want to share three MORE heart-friendly superfoods you should put on your shopping list to have a happy healthy heart for years to come.
As you age your body makes less of a compound called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD, which is vital for energy production. And it turns out broccoli is an excellent source of the substance.
When your NAD levels start to drop you can suffer all sorts of negative signs of aging, including muscle weakness and the heart problems that can be linked to that. (Remember, your heart is essentially a muscle.) Your liver function is also affected, which can drive your blood lipids out of balance. And insulin resistance typically increases, raising your risk for diabetes and the heart problems that go hand-in-hand with the disease.1,2
Broccoli is also rich in the heart-friendly compound indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which early research has found may help protect your heart against failure.3 And experts say eating more broccoli and other cruciferous veggies is linked to a lower risk of heart disease.4
Omega-3 fatty acids, like you’ll find in seafood, are great for your heart health. But experts say EPA and DHA specifically are the true key to the fatty acids’ heart-protecting power.5,6,7,8
Research conducted at the Mayo Clinic found that the more EPA and DHA you have in your diet the lower your risk for heart disease. In fact, according to the researchers, even if you have high triglycerides or LDL (“bad”) cholesterol a diet high in EPA and DHA can help reduce your risk by 14 to 16 percent.9
Mackerel, an often overlooked fish, is one of the very best sources of both of these heart-friendly fatty acids, with a single cup bringing over 6,900 milligrams of omega-3s to the table.
But mackerel’s benefits don’t end with the omegas, with every serving you also get an incredible 342 percent of your daily requirements for D. And since low D levels are linked to heart disease that’s nothing to sneeze at.10
Plus one cup of mackerel supplies 271 percent of your heart-healthy B12 needs for the day. The B vitamins help control your homocysteine levels, which are associated with heart disease and high blood pressure.11,12
Spinach is rich in several nutrients your heart craves to stay healthy.
A cup of the leafy greens delivers 56 percent of your daily recommended amount of vitamin A. Experts say vitamin A plays an important role in the structure and function of your heart, and the vital vitamin can help fight the thickening of the heart that’s seen with chronic high blood pressure.13
Spinach also provides around 14 percent of the vitamin C we require in a day, which research shows may help fight heart disease by keeping your small blood vessels relaxed and dilated.14,15,16 Higher vitamin C levels are associated with up to a 42 percent lower risk of stroke.17,18
Around 20 percent of your daily recommended value of magnesium is packed into a serving of spinach too. Magnesium is vital for proper muscle function, which makes it a must have to keep your heart beating properly.
Spinach is also one of the richest sources of heart-friendly vitamin K available. Vitamin K protects your arteries and blood vessels by helping your body properly use calcium. A diet high in K may lower your risk of vascular damage caused by a buildup of calcium.19,20 In a study out of the Netherlands, researchers found that a diet high in vitamin K could slash your arterial calcification and heart risk by 50 percent.21
Your heart’s hard at work twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Be sure to give it the fuel it needs to thrive. Add these three heart-supporting foods to your menu starting today.