Foods For a Healthy Heart

Foods For a Healthy Heart

There is no all-cure food which can give everything that your heart needs, but here are
five foods that will lower the risk of a heart disease!



Eating for a healthy heart means filling your plate with heart-healthy stuff like fruits and vegetables, paying attention to fibre, eating healthy fats and limiting trans-fat as well as salt. And although no single food is a cure-all, certain foods have shown to improve the health of your heart. Let us understand how these foods may help lower our risk of heart disease!



1. Yogurt

Research shows yogurt may protect against gum disease. Left unchecked, gum disease may
elevate a person’s risk for heart disease. Researchers from Japan analysed dietary intakes from nearly 1,000 adults and found those who consumed the highest levels of dairy—specifically yogurt and yogurt-type drinks— had the healthiest gums. Experts believe that probiotics may help to counter growth of the “unfriendly” bacteria in the mouth. Probiotics are live active cultures used to ferment foods; such as yogurt, studies suggest that they may improve digestion and boost immunity too.



2. Whole grains and beans
People who eat plenty of whole grains tend to be leaner and have a lower risk of heart disease than those who do not. This is probably because whole grains contain antioxidants,
phytoestrogens and phytosterols that are protective against coronary disease. The fibre in
whole grains also has its benefits. Various studies link a high-fibre diet with a lower risk of heart disease. In a Harvard study of female health professionals, people who ate a high-fibre diet had a 40 per cent lower risk of heart disease than those who ate a low-fibre diet.
Eating beans regularly is good for our heart. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition
suggests having just 1/2 cup of cooked beans daily might lower cholesterol level.


Aim to include foods that are rich in soluble fibre as studies show that it helps to lower “bad”
Cholesterol (LDL). Soluble fibre binds bile acid, a key component in fat digestion that our bodies make from cholesterol. We can’t digest fibre, so when bile acids are bound to it, they get ushered out of the body as waste. This causes the body to convert more cholesterol into bile acids, which ultimately has the effect of lowering circulating cholesterol levels. Foods high in soluble fibre include oatmeal, barley, beans, okra and eggplant, and citrus fruit, such as oranges.



3. Nuts
Nuts are chock-full of vitamins, minerals, monounsaturated fats and low levels of saturated fats. Research suggests that people who eat nuts—walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, pine nuts and peanuts (which actually are legumes)—two to four days or more per week have a lower chances of a heart disease than people who eat them less often.



4. Fruits
Fruits have always been a man’s best friend. Haven’t we all heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away! Here are the fruits that should be in your diet.
Apples are associated with a lower risk of death from both coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. They are rich in pectin, a form of soluble fibre known to help lower
cholesterol, and they provide a decent amount of vitamin C, another antioxidant for a stronger heart.
Eating just under a cup of mixed berries daily for eight weeks is associated with increased levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and lowered blood pressure, two positives when it comes to a healthy heart, according to a study of 72 middle-age people published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Polyphenols may increase levels of nitric oxide, a
molecule that produces a number of heart-healthy effects. One is helping to relax blood vessels, which subsequently results in lowered blood pressure.
Studies have shown that the fruit may help reduce the build-up of plaque in arteries and also lower blood pressure. Experts believe that pomegranate’s benefits come from its powerful punch of polyphenols—including anthocyanin (found in blue, purple and deep-red foods) and tannins (found in wine and tea).
The potassium in bananas helps maintain normal heart function and the balance of sodium and water in the body. Potassium helps the kidneys excrete excess sodium, thereby contributing to healthy blood pressure. This mineral is especially important for people taking diuretics for heart disease, which not combat sodium and water retention, but also strip potassium from the body in the process.
An excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and fibre, tomatoes are high in lycopene, which works with other vitamins and minerals to aid in disease prevention. Research suggests that the combination of nutrients in tomatoes may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Cooking tomatoes may actually increase the health benefits of this lush fruit because although cooked tomatoes have less vitamin C, their lycopene is more available and antioxidant activity is undiminished by cooking.



5. Green Tea
Some of the strongest evidences of tea’s health benefits come from studies of heart disease.
Scientists have found that those who drink 2 (12 ounces) or more cups tea a day are about half as likely to have a heart attack as non-tea drinkers. Scientists also reported that Japanese men who drank a cup of green tea daily significantly lowered their risk of developing a gum disease —more the tea, lower the risk. The researchers believe antioxidants called catechins in green tea are the key. Catechins hamper the body’s inflammatory response to the bacteria that causes gum disease. People with gum disease are twice as likely to suffer from heart problems.


By: Kiran Dalal



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