Eating for a healthy heart ♥ means consuming the proper amount of fiber, eating fish at least twice a week filling your plate with fruits and vegetables, and limiting unhealthy fats like saturated and Trans fats, as well as too much salt or sodium rich foods. Certain foods have shown to be very beneficial to your heart health. Find out how these 5 foods may help lower your risk of heart disease.
1. ♥ Whole Grains
Those who eat a diet rich in whole grains, tend to be leaner and have a lower risk of heart disease than people who don’t. They contain antioxidants, phytoestrogens and phytosterols that are protective against coronary disease. In a Harvard study of female health professionals, people who ate a high-fiber diet had a 40 percent lower risk of heart disease than those who ate a low-fiber diet.
2. ♥ Beans
Eating beans regularly is good for your heart, and you don’t need to eat a lot of them to benefit. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests having just 1⁄2 cup of cooked pinto beans daily might lower cholesterol.
3. ♥ Salmon/Fish
Consuming two or more servings of fish per week can lower your risk of developing coronary heart disease by 30%. Studies show that fish (especially “oily” kinds, like salmon and tuna) contain high levels of omega-3 fats, which lower levels of triglycerides in the blood that may contribute to blood clotting. Omega-3’s lower blood pressure and can help prevent irregular heart rhythms. No common fish delivers more of the omega-3 fatty acids than salmon.
4. ♥ Pomegranates
Most fruit may help to reduce the buildup of plaque in arteries and lower blood pressure, but experts believe that pomegranate’s benefits come from its powerful punch of polyphenols (found in blue, purple and deep-red foods) and tannins (found in wine and tea). In a 2008 study, researchers found that compared with other antioxidant-rich beverages (including blueberry juice, cranberry juice and red wine), “pomegranate [juice] naturally has the highest antioxidant capacity,” according to David Heber, M.D. Ph.D., study collaborator and director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition.
5. ♥ CHOCOLATE
We saved the BEST for last! At least according to our taste buds! Researchers have discovered that eating moderate amounts of flavanol-rich *dark chocolate has a blood-thinning effect, which can benefit cardiovascular health, and it may boost the immune system by reducing inflammation. Scientists found that a compound in cocoa, called epicatechin, boosts nitric oxide, a substance that has been shown to be crucial to healthy blood vessels. Healthy levels of nitric oxide help keep blood pressure from climbing. *Be sure to choose dark chocolate, ideally one that’s 70 percent cocoa solids; milk chocolate lacks significant levels of epicatechin.