7 Foods For A Hearty Dose Of Heart Health
Did you know that carrots are high in Vitamin A and have been associated with a lower risk of heart attacks in women? Nutrients in these orange, yellow, red, white, and purple beauties may provide protection against heart disease and cancer, while helping to build healthy bones and nervous systems. Some studies have also shown that cooking carrots may help boost their antioxidant levels and overall nutritional value.
Not often thought of as a ‘heart healthy fruit’, bananas are high in potassium and fiber and low in sodium, making them an excellent choice for maintaining healthy cholesterol, blood pressure and heart function.
They get a bad rap in heart health with yolks containing ~186 milligrams of cholesterol – more than half of the American Heart Association’s daily recommendation. Eggs, though, are an accessible, inexpensive source of protein and contain essential vitamins and minerals that are excellent for your heart and your brain. While some need to be conscious of their egg consumption, both from a quantity and preparation perspective, eggs are a great way to keep your ticker tickin’.
Did you know that strawberries rank #2 among the top 10 fruits in antioxidant capacity? They’re also naturally fat, sodium and cholesterol-free with 1 serving (~8 strawberries) weighing in at only 50 kcals! Strawberries help control cholesterol, blood pressure and homocysteine levels, three of the risk factors associated with heart disease.
Rich in lycopene, available all year round and with a deliciously sweet flavor, tomatoes are supremely high in antioxidants. A recent study by scientists at Tufts University in Boston, suggests regularly eating lycopene over many years can have a powerful protective effect on the heart. This time around, cut a pearl or cherry tomato in two, position the two halves as shown and jump on Cupid’s bandwagon.
6. Dark Chocolate.
Dark chocolate ranks among the top 10 dietary sources of antioxidants (others include cloves, mint, anise, cacao powder, and berries), according to the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Dark chocolate is also rich in bioactive flavonols and theobromine, which reportedly have grand effects on our heart cells and blood vessels, which keep our hearts pumping healthily. It should be noted that the chocolate we speak of should be dark, as close to pure as possible and consumed in moderation.
7. Red Wine
Research shows that the alcohol and antioxidants in red wine may help prevent heart disease. How, you ask? By increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and protecting against artery damage. Those same antioxidants (specifically polyphenols) may also help protect your heart’s blood vessel lining. So, the next time you reach for a deep Merlot or a pretty Pinot – give the ol’ corazon a quick glass clink and know you’re doin’ your body good.