Anyone who has struggled with heart health knows that it’s not easy to tackle. Luckily, there are a number of foods and supplements that can support your heart, even if you have to work hard at it. The right diet is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and can help decrease the risk of developing heart disease. In addition to getting plenty of exercise, eating a balanced and nutritious diet helps keep our ticker healthy and happy. Expert recommendations for improving your heart health involve mostly the same things we’ve been hearing about for decades: eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and nuts; cut back on red meat; avoid sugar-sweetened beverages; and limit sodium. It’s not exactly exciting or new information, but these strategies are evidence-based practices that have proven to be effective in keeping hearts ticking along nicely—especially when they’re combined with regular physical activity. Here are 10 foods you should add to your shopping list to improve your heart health:
Beans and lentils
Beans and lentils are a good source of plant-based protein, fiber, and plenty of vitamins and minerals. Eating a diet rich in plant-based foods is associated with lower risk of heart disease. Beans and lentils can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and risk of heart disease and stroke. They are also a cheap and easy source of protein.
Dark leafy greens
Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and are very low in calories. A diet rich in fiber has been shown to reduce risk of heart disease and stroke. Dark leafy greens are one of the best sources of fiber, which is especially important for people with high cholesterol who need to eat more soluble fiber to reduce their cholesterol. Taking Quercetin supplements are also a great way to give your body what it needs in order to support your heart health.
Oily fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help increase heart health. Oily fish can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and risk of heart disease and stroke. If you want to enjoy the benefits of fish but don’t like the taste, you can also get omega-3s by taking fish oil supplements. Beware though, because too many fish oil supplements can actually increase your risk of heart disease.
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are rich in anthocyanin, a flavonoid that helps reduce inflammation. A diet rich in flavonoids has been shown to reduce risk of heart disease and stroke. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is essential for good heart health. You can also add a colorful twist to your dishes to make your meals look and taste more appealing.
Whole grains are rich in fiber and vitamins, and are a good source of energy. They are also low in calories. A diet rich in fiber and whole grains has been shown to reduce risk of heart disease. Choose whole grains like oats, barley, rye, and quinoa to get more fiber and minerals in your diet.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are a good source of protein and various vitamins and minerals. Eating a diet rich in plant-based foods is associated with lower risk of heart disease. They are also are a good source of fibre and a quick and easy snack.
Dark chocolate is full of flavonoids, is rich in minerals, and contains antioxidants. A diet rich in flavonoids has been shown to reduce risk of heart disease. Although, eating too much of anything is not good for you—so enjoy one or two pieces a day.
Eggs are a good source of protein and vitamins, and can help improve heart health. A diet rich in protein has been shown to reduce risk of heart disease. Heart disease is still the leading cause of death globally, claiming 17 million lives per year—one every four seconds. Eating a healthy diet is an important part of keeping your heart healthy. Make sure you’re getting plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and nuts, beans, and seeds. And remember, a healthy diet isn’t a cure-all; you also need to exercise regularly to keep your ticker healthy and happy.