The heart or the brain as the body’s center is a never-ending debate in the medical community. We’d say they’re both equally important. While the brain has many more functions, it wouldn’t be able to function without its “pump” – the heart.
Beating over 100,000 times per day and pumping 4-5 quarts of blood per minute, the heart does a mammoth job every second. If you didn’t skip biology classes, you know that the heart is a muscle with 4 hollow chambers. They function altogether to get blood from the veins and oxygenate it before driving it back to the bloodstream. It’s a vital organ that cannot be replaced, yet we rarely pay it the attention it deserves.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the USA and all across Europe. According to the CDC, it’s a bigger threat than certain types of cancer. The root cause of heart disease are our unhealthy diet and the increasing lack of exercise. We lead a sedentary lifestyle and rarely eat healthy food anymore, and it’s all taking a toll on our heart.
The unhealthy foods we eat are plugging our arteries and reducing blood flow (and pressure). Over time, this can lead to the development of several life-threatening heart diseases, so it’s not a thing we should take lightly.
Add smoking and alcohol to the list, and you’ve got a recipe for (heart) disaster.
How to Recognize Heart Disease
The signs and symptoms of heart disease are many. The earliest ones include numbness and pain in the left arm, pain in the jaw, and chest pain of course. Recognizing the early signs of heart disease can help you reduce the severity of heart disease and probably even save your life.
The good news is that recovering from heart disease involves simple steps such as changing your diet and lifestyle. Add some of the following heart-healthy foods in your diet and your chances of heart disease will go down significantly.
Heart Healthy Foods You Should Add to Your Diet
Avocados are among the healthiest fruits you can eat. Rich in potassium, magnesium, various vitamins, and a lot of fiber, avocados can do wonders for your heart. Eat them every day fresh or add a bit of avocado in a smoothie in order to get all its benefits.
All nuts are full of omega-3 fatty acids, but almonds have the highest content. They also contain antioxidants, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, magnesium, and vitamin E, all nutrients that are great for your heart. You don’t need much of them – just eat a handful of almonds for snack every day.
Another tropical fruit on the list, papayas are full of vitamins A and C as well as potassium. All these nutrients are great for your heart and will keep your blood pressure in check. In that way, your risk of heart disease will be significantly cut down.
Sweet potatoes are full of fiber and potassium which are great for your heart as well as vitamins A and C. Eat them more often to keep your heart healthy and your keep your cardiovascular system in check.
Red Bell Peppers
One of nature’s best sources of vitamin C, red bell peppers are great for your heart. The capsaicin in these peppers will also prevent excessive blood clotting, reducing the risk of various heart problems.
A bar of dark chocolate with high cocoa content will do your heart a lot of good. Why? Dark chocolate contains flavonols which have anti-inflammatory properties and will reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Don’t eat too much, though, as it might have an opposite effect.
Red wine is full of a heart-healthy compound known as resveratrol. This rare compound is actually a powerful antioxidant that can protect your arteries and prevent heart disease.
Eating oranges is a great way to boost your vitamin C intake and keep your heart health in check. You can eat oranges raw or juice them – anything works great for your heart.
Salmon is just about the healthiest type of fish you can eat. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, eating salmon will reduce your risk of arrhythmia and cut down your triglyceride levels as well.
Which Foods Didn’t Make the List?
The list of heart-healthy foods is actually pretty long. Apart from the aforementioned foods, you should also add pomegranates, oatmeal, tomatoes, raisins, red grapes, and olive oil in your diet to keep your heart as healthy as possible.