Taking care of your heart can seem complicated. Because heart health isn’t just about one thing.
When you’re trying to reduce your risk of heart disease, or help an ailing heart recover, you have all kinds of things to consider. And “good” cholesterol, “bad” cholesterol and blood pressure top the list.
It can feel overwhelming.
But don’t throw in the towel just yet. Because according to researchers at Harvard University there’s one thing that can help with all of these heart concerns.
It turns out 70 percent of cases of heart disease could be prevented with diet alone!
Heart disease superfoods to put on your shopping list
Get started by eating a lower carb diet that’s full of plenty of organic produce, fresh wild-caught fish and lean grass-fed meats.
But then you can take your heart-friendly diet one step further, by loading up on the heart disease superfoods that can protect your ticker for years to come.
Following are our top six picks for heart disease superfoods for a younger heart.
1. Chia seeds:
Have you been on the fence about adopting chia seeds into your diet? If so it’s time to climb down and just do it already. Because this nutrient-dense food is brimming with head-to-toe health benefits, including ones for your heart.
Chia seeds contain more of the omega-3 ALA than just about any other plant source. These fatty acids—which your body can convert into EPA and DHA—help protect your heart.
Omega-3s lower your risk for heart disease and heart attack. And they help fight unhealthy cholesterol levels and potentially life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms.
Plus your heart will also love chia’s antioxidants and heart-friendly vitamins, minerals and fiber.
If the only thing this veggie brought to the table was its pungently spicy taste, we’d still encourage you to eat more garlic. Because it can transform a bland meal into a taste-bud pleasing feast.
But adding a punch of flavor to your favorite dishes is far from the only trick garlic has up its sleeve. According to experts, the strongly flavored veggie could also give your immune system a boost, lower your risk of cancer and encourage better blood sugar.
But it’s when it comes to heart health that garlic really shines.
Known as Mother Nature’s ACE inhibitor, this delicious veggie helps fight dangerous plaque deposits in your arteries. In fact, three different studies at UCLA found that garlic could reduce plaque build-up by up to 50 percent.
Plus, garlic acts like a natural ACE inhibitor. Regularly including it in your diet can help deter the enzymes that constrict your blood vessels and raise your blood pressure.
Folks are finally waking up to wonders of kale. This all around superfood has begun to get some of the love the incredibly nutritious veggie deserves.
Research has revealed the free-radical fighting antioxidants in kale could reduce your risk for chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes. But it’s made our list of heart disease superfoods because of its heart protecting powers.
The ground breaking Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study found the lutein in kale helps guard against clogged arteries. Plus glucoraphanin adds extra protection against heart attack and stroke. The compound fights hardening of the arteries by preventing plaque and fat from sticking to your blood vessel walls.
American’s don’t eat nearly as many legumes as folks in other parts of the world. And that’s shame, because these nutrient-packed foods—which includes beans, chickpeas and lentils—are good for everything from brain to belly health.
But the heart benefits of eating more legumes will really blow you away. In fact, it’s what earned them a spot on our list of the top six heart disease superfoods.
In a long-term, 25-year study, involving nearly 13,000 people around the world regularly eating legumes reduced the risk of dying from heart disease by an astounding 82 percent.
Far too many folks avoid nuts because they fear they are fattening. But in moderation, nuts offer tons of health benefits. And they contain over a dozen nutrients proven to help reduce your risk of heart disease.
Plus nuts are brimming with the heart-friendly unsaturated fats that you want MORE of in your diet. In fact, experts say nut eaters tend to be slimmer and healthier than other folks are.
Research has found nuts can help lower LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. And according to researchers from the University of Toronto, the plant sterols in nuts help raise your HDL or “good” cholesterol as well.
An analysis of four different studies on nuts and heart health found that the folks who ate the most nuts had a 37 percent reduced risk of dying from heart disease. And the Physicians Health Study found that men who snacked on nuts two or more times a week had a 47 percent lower risk of sudden cardiac death compared to guys who rarely or never ate them.
We all know what they say about eating an apple a day. But it turns out eating an orange a day could help keep the heart doctor away.
Oranges are high in a specific fiber that helps your body absorb cholesterol. That means there’s less chance of the kind of artery blocking build up that can trigger a heart attack or stroke. And orange’s potassium content means eating more of them can lead to healthier blood pressure.
The citrus pectin in oranges protects your heart too. The fiber minimizes the harm a damaging protein called galectin-3 does to your heart. And according to researchers, the pectin can reduce your risk of heart failure by up to 37 percent.
Protect your ticker by feeding your heart more of these heart disease superfoods starting today.