Heart problems are nowadays one of the leading causes of death in men and women. We must be careful about our heart and keep it healthy. People always connect having a healthy diet with eating healthy food and unfortunately, not everyone wants to do that. Eating fruits and vegetables isn’t everyone’s favorite after all.
Something Basic About Heart Health
Our heart is probably the most important muscle in our body. It pumps about 5 or 6 quarts of blood every minute. The inside of our heart is made of 4 hollow chambers.
The top right side of our heart receives blood from our veins. The bottom right side sends it to our lungs so that it can be oxygenated. The blood that is oxygenated comes back to our heart through the top left side. Then, it is sent back into circulation. When our heart is filled with blood, it doesn’t receive nutrients or oxygen. It is fed from coronary arteries on the aorta.
When plaque is gathered on the walls of the arteries, it can cause various heart problems like for example:
- Blood vessel diseases, like coronary artery disease
- Heart defects you’re born with (congenital heart defects)
- Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias)
The most common symptoms of heart disease are:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain (angina)
- Pain in the throat, neck, upper abdomen, jaw or back
- Pain, weakness, coldness or numbness in your arms or legs
These are some of the factors that can have a negative effect on the health of your heart:
Poor diet: the intake of too much salt, cholesterol, sugar and fat can cause heart diseases.
Smoking: Nicotine is one of the reasons for the appearance of heart problems and atherosclerosis.
High cholesterol: High cholesterol can increase the risk of appearance of atherosclerosis and arterial plaque.
High blood pressure: This is what can narrow, harden and thicken your blood vessels.
Obesity: This is also one of the risk factors that can lead to heart problems.
Diabetes: Diabetes can cause heart problems.
Physical inactivity: If you don’t exercise regularly, your heart muscle will weaken.
Stress: Chronic stress is very bad for your heart as well as your blood vessels and heart.
Poor immune function: Some viral or bacterial infections can put you at risk of heart infections.
Top 17 Heart Healthy Foods:
Avocado is abundant in vitamin B, fiber, vitamin C, healthy fats and potassium. It contains monounsaturated fats which decrease the levels of cholesterol. It is a delicious fruit that you can use anyway you like.
Blueberries contain plenty of antioxidants. They can decrease the risk of heart problems and it has been proved by a study. That’s because they contain flavonoids and anthocyanins. Blueberries also contain plenty of fiber which decrease the appearance of plaque and control our cholesterol.
Almonds are full of antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, magnesium and vitamin E. We need them all in order to have a healthy heart. They can also decrease the appearance of gallstones and prevent diabetes.
4. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is one of the most favorite and the tastiest heart healthy foo of all. It is abundant in flavanols. They are anti-inflammatory and help you control clotting, blood pressure, sugar and inflammation. Try to buy brands that contain a 70% of cocoa in them or even more.
This amazing tropical fruit contains plenty of vitamin A and C, but also folic acid, fiber and potassium. Papayas can help us against heart problems, but also diabetes, poor digestion, cancer, high blood pressure, high blood glucose in diabetics, and slow wound healing.
6. Sweet Potato
This type of potato is much better for our heart than white potatoes since it contains plenty of vitamin C and A, but also potassium and fiber. It can also help us against chronic inflammation and fat.
7. Red Bell Peppers
This type of peppers contains the most vitamin A and C of all types of peppers. They are also full of capsaicin, which improves our blood flow and cholesterol. Capsaicin is excellent against excessive blood clotting.
8. Red Wine
Red wine is especially good for an improved heart health. If you drink small amounts of it regularly, it can help you against numerous heart problems.
Oranges contain plenty of flavones that decrease the amount of bad cholesterol in our body. They are also abundant in vitamin C which makes them extra healthy.
Salmon is a type of fish with the greatest amount of omega-3 fatty acids that we all need in order to have a healthy heart. These healthy fats also decrease the risk of atherosclerosis and arrhythmia. Try to eat fish at least 2 times a week so that you can ripe all of their benefits.
Pomegranate is a fruit which is very good for our heart. Eat it or drink it in the form of juice. It will offer its amazing benefits anyway. It’s abundant in anthocyanins, soluble polyphenols and tannins.
Tomatoes are amazing for optimal heart health. They are abundant in beta-carotene, lycopene, potassium, folate, vitamin E, vitamin C and flavonoids.
Oatmeal contains an abundance of cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber. Eat it regularly for breakfast and you’ll soon notice its great benefits.
14. Olive Oil
People who have a Mediterranean diet claim that it’s the perfect addition to any dish and it’s very healthy. Taking 4 tablespoons of olive oil every day will help you avoid any heart problem and improve your overall health. It’s also amazing against high cholesterol and blood sugar.
15. Red Grapes and Raisins
Red grapes also contain plenty of resveratrol that can help us against heart problems, as we already said. They are full of fiber and antioxidants, too.
16. Flax Seed
Flax seeds contain plenty of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. Chia seeds are also very healthy.
17. Green Tea
Green tea is abundant in catechins which can help us prevent hypertension, cardiomyopathy, atherosclerosis, endothelial dysfunction, cardiac hypertrophy, ischemic heart diseases and congestive heart failure. If you drink 4 or more cups of tea every day, it will help you avoid heart problems as well as numerous other health problems, illnesses and diseases.
How to Prevent Heart Disease:
If you want to have a healthy heart, you have to take good care of it every day. Eat well balanced portions, fresh foods and avoid unhealthy fats and sodium.
Intake plenty of teff, whole grains, amaranth, quinoa and barley. Avoid alcohol and processed meats, too. Stop smoking! The most important thing of all is to stay well hydrated, reduce the levels of stress you’re exposed too and exercise regularly!