Foods that are heart healthy contain nutrients that help maintain heart health. These include vitamins D, omega3 fatty acids, magnesium, CoQ10, folic acid and potassium. Dietary fiber is also important, since it helps lower blood cholesterol levels. While these nutrients are important for heart health, they’re also mandatory for overall good health, so adding them to your diet even if you don’t worry about heart problems can improve your well-being.
Choose dark chocolate for a healthy heart.
You’re probably ecstatic when you read dark chocolate is part of a heart healthy diet. However, it’s not the sugary sweet type of milk chocolate most people are used to eating. The best dark chocolate are those with the fewest ingredients with cocoa powder, cocoa butter, cocoa nibs, cocoa or chocolate liquor at the top of the list. It’s 70 percent chocolate and has not only antioxidants The flavonoids in dark chocolate provide benefits like lower blood pressure, improved blood flow to the heart and prevent clots, while fighting cell damage.
You need healthy fat for a healthy heart.
While fat may have a reputation of being unhealthy for the heart, it’s not true. It started with a flawed study funded by none other than the sugar industry to shift the blame from sugar to fat. Foods that contain healthy fat include avocados, nuts and fatty fish, like salmon. Although these foods contain different types of fat, they definitely boost heart health. Fish contain Omega-3 fatty acids that lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol. Avocados and walnuts provide monounsaturated fat that’s heart healthy and lowers the risk of heart disease. Walnuts also contain alpha linoleic acid—a form of omega-3 fatty acids —that’s extremely heart healthy.
Foods that are high in vitamin D boost your heart health.
Even in North Carolina, getting adequate vitamin D from the sun can be impossible. If you’re low in vitamin D, you face the risk of heart disease. It’s involved in so many functions, including lowering blood pressure. Eating foods high in vitamin D can help when the weather is cold or there’s little sun. They include beef liver, cheese, products fortified with vitamin D and egg yolks.
- Look for food high in magnesium to prevent an irregular heartbeat. Foods that contain magnesium include avocados, dark chocolate, raw spinach and soybeans. Folic acid lowers the risk of heart disease by 20%, so eat lots of Brussels sprouts, asparagus, lentils and broccoli.
- Eat organ meat, such as liver or beef heart to boost CoQ10 levels. It lowers the risk of heart failure and high blood pressure.
- Don’t forget your fiber. It’s important for heart health and lowers bad cholesterol. You’ll get fiber from a bowl of oatmeal or an apple a day.
- The more colorful vegetables you eat, the more you improve your heart health. Variety adds more nutrition and substances like resveratrol into your diet.