Simple food choices go a long way when it comes to your heart’s health. Focusing on fresh foods full of heart-healthy fats and antioxidants can decrease your risk of developing heart disease and cut your chances of a heart attack. These 10 foods will help keep your ticker in top shape.
Oatmeal Start your day with a steaming bowl of oats, which are full of omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. This fiber-rich superfood can lower levels of LDL (or bad) cholesterol and help keep arteries clear.
Opt for coarse or steel-cut oats over instant varieties — the coarse and steel-cut contain more fiber — and top your bowl off with a banana for another four grams of fiber.
Salmon Super-rich in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon can effectively reduce blood pressure and keep clotting at bay. Aim for two servings per week, which may reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack by up to one-third.
“Salmon contains the carotenoid astaxanthin, which is a very powerful antioxidant,” says cardiologist Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, the author of “Lower Your Blood Pressure In Eight Weeks.” But be sure to choose wild salmon over farm-raised fish, which can be packed with insecticides, pesticides, and heavy metals.
Not a fan of salmon? Other oily fish like mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines will give your heart the same boost.
Avocado Add a bit of avocado to a sandwich or spinach salad to increase the amount of heart-healthy fats in your diet. Packed with monounsaturated fat,
avocados can help lower LDL levels while raising the amount of HDL cholesterol in your body.
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“Avocados are awesome,” says Dr. Sinatra. “They allow for the absorption of other carotenoids — especially beta-carotene and lycopene — which are essential for heart health.”
Olive oil Full of monounsaturated fats, olive oil lowers bad LDL cholesterol and reduces your risk of developing heart disease.
Results from the Seven Countries Study, which looked at cardiovascular disease incidences across the globe, showed that while men in Crete had a predisposition for high cholesterol levels, relatively few died of heart disease because their diet focused on heart-healthy fats found in olive oil. Look for extra-virgin or virgin varieties — they’re the least processed — and use them instead of butter when cooking. Health.com: Good fats vs. bad fats — what to eat
Nuts Almonds, walnuts, and macadamia nuts are all full of omega-3 fatty acids and mono- and polyunsaturated fats.