4 Surprisingly Heart-Healthy Foods
Cardiovascular disease has been the number one cause of deaths in the US. Because of this, a ton of research has been done on preventing heart disease and it has been clear that a healthy and active lifestyle can make the world of a difference. We at Ageless Forever know how important a healthy balanced diet can affect the heart. There are certain foods you should incorporate into your diet to be more heart-conscious and we’ll be discussing what you should keep stocked in your fridge and pantry. If you haven’t been trying your best to have a healthy heart, the time is now to change direction before it’s too late. Keep reading!
4 Surprisingly Heart-Healthy Foods
Blueberries, strawberries, and other types of berries will lower your risk of heart attack. These amazing fruits are rich in antioxidants which are important for protecting your body against oxidative stress and inflammation - two contributing factors to heart disease. One 8-week study in 2010 showed that adults with metabolic syndrome who drank a smoothie containing freeze-dried strawberries decreased their LDL (bad) cholesterol. An analysis of several studies showed eating berries also reduced systolic blood pressure, certain factors of inflammation, and BMI (body mass index). Berries serve as a great sweet snack as well as a low-calorie dessert with a host of benefits. Adding this to your diet in a variety of ways can help your heart in many ways - give it a try!
Not only do they taste great, walnuts contain a good amount of fiber, magnesium, manganese, and copper - all great for fighting against heart disease. Similar to berries, eating walnuts daily can help lower your bad (LDL) cholesterol as well as provide more and better-quality antioxidants than most other popular nuts. These antioxidants help prevent cell damage caused by free radicals which can contribute to heart disease and other conditions. Many people have stayed away from eating nuts due to the high fat content and calories. However, snacking on a handful of walnuts contains about 185 calories, 4g of protein, and 18 heart-healthy grams of fat that will help maintain your weight or even lose weight because they are a satiating and fulfilling snack.
3. Dark Chocolate
Yes, you read that correctly! Dark chocolate (when it is not loaded with sugar or saturated fat) has made the list for best foods for your heart. Cacao beans are fermented, dried, and roasted to create fresh cacao powder - the primary ingredient to make chocolate. Studies show that dark chocolate rich in at least 70% cacao can help reduce blood pressure, has disease-fighting antioxidants - specifically flavonoids, and can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.The flavonoids found in cacao improves blood flow to your brain and heart and helps fight cell damage. However, dark chocolate should be consumed in moderate amounts to enjoy the maximum benefits it can provide for your heart.
Related: 4 Ways to Improve Your Heart Health
This amazing vegetable jazzes up most savory dishes and has been used as a natural remedy for centuries to treat a number of illnesses like asthma, infections, digestive disorders, heart disease, and more. Cooking with garlic more often can have an anti-inflammatory effect, help build a stronger immune system, help get rid of plaque from your arteries, as well as lower your risk of cancer. You can arguably say that a diet consisting of garlic helps the heart most significantly through lowering about 10% of your cholesterol. However, eating too much garlic supplements may be harmful to people with cardiovascular disease. Consuming too much garlic can make certain medications less effective, and can cause indigestion.
To get the absolute most out of garlic for your heart, follow these steps:
Opt for fresh garlic over powder or pill-form - fresh garlic releases a compound called allicin from chewing or mincing it. It is harder to activate acillin from a garlic pill since the pills generally dissolve in the stomach, inactivating the enzyme required to produce accilin.
Buy the freshest bulbs - the fresher the garlic, the more active nutrients it will bring. Try finding garlic bulbs that don’t have loose, dried out or fraying skin. Although garlic can be stored for months, it is better to consume within a week.
Store your garlic properly - Garlic thrives in a cool, dark place with decent ventilation to prevent molding or sprouting.
Chop it up - chopping, smashing, or slicing your garlic will trigger an enzyme reaction that boosts its health benefits. For best results, let the garlic sit for 10 minutes after chopping, slicing, or smashing before cooking with it.
It is time we take charge of our health. By implementing some of the foods listed above into our diets, we can start to make a positive change for our hearts. Although certain genetic factors or health conditions are not under our control, it is important to do what we can to ensure we have the best quality of life we are able to. Here at Ageless Forever, we want to help our clients live the best life, agelessly. If you have been struggling with a healthy diet, we offer personalized diet/nutrition programs to fit your needs to achieve a healthier heart, body, and a happier you. Make sure you check out our wide range of anti-aging services that may also benefit you!