A “cardiac diet” also implies a heart healthy diet, often recommended for individuals with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a self or family history of heart disease. Despite the diet prescription to lower heart disease risk or mortality, all can benefit to improve and optimize overall health. In fact, following a heart healthy diet may assist in weight loss and maintenance and encourage greater energy levels. But what exactly are heart healthy foods and how do they work to lower cardiovascular disease?
18 Foods Good for the Heart
Oatmeal is oat of this world in soluble fiber, a type of fiber shown to lower cholesterol levels.
An apple a day may keep heart disease away, as studies have shown the fruit can lower bad (LDL) cholesterol and reduce heart-clogging plaques.
Iron-supplying whole grain cereals helps oxygenate the blood pumped from the heart to cells within the body.
The high fiber and potent antioxidant content of berries have shown to reduce high cholesterol, prevent cellular damage, and reduce heart disease risk.
Beans have been shown to lower the risk of elevated blood pressure by up to 47 percent, while also being a significant source of heart-protective fiber.
The rich folate found in lentils may lower stroke risk by reducing hardening of artery walls, a condition known as atherosclerosis.
Calcium supplied from milk not only builds strong bones, but is also good for the heart and assists in blood pressure regulation.
8. Soy Milk
People who are lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy can obtain a significant amount of calcium from soy milk. Soy may also reduce cholesterol levels.
Vitamin D found in mushrooms not only assists the function of calcium, but research has shown vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for heart attack, congestive heart failure, and stroke.
Bananas are a significant source of potassium, a critical electrolyte necessary for normalizing heart pulses and rhythms.
Spinach and other dark, leafy greens supply magnesium, which may lower hypertension by assisting the function of potassium.
Niacin, ample in turkey, helps to relax blood vessels, subsequently lowering blood pressure and increasing blood flow, while further demonstrating to lower both blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
The uniquely healthy fat-supplying avocado may reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
14. Fatty Fish
Omega-3s, found in fatty fish, are notoriously known for their role in heart health. Fatty fish sources include mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon.
Not a fan of fish? Flaxseed is also a source of not only omega-3 fatty acids, but a supplier of fiber.
16. Olive Oil
Swapping out butter and margarine with olive oil has shown to reduce heart disease risk.
Reduce added salt and amplify flavor by spicing it up in the kitchen with fresh herbs.
18. Red Wine
While regular intake of alcohol is not necessarily encouraged, moderate consumption of red wine has shown to be cardio-protective (a serving of wine is five ounces).
While heart healthy foods are plausible, the list does not end with a pour of the red wine bottle. Ultimately, heart healthy diets are ample in fiber and nutrients from whole grain sources and colorful fruits and veggies while lean proteins, and nuts and seeds, are encouraged, too. But in addition to diet, the heart can benefit from exercising regularly, smoking cessation, managing stress, and scheduling routine exams to know heart disease risk. If desiring further assistance on implementing a heart healthy diet, Silver Cuisine offers heart healthy foods and meals arriving straight to your doorstep! Find more information on Silver Cuisine’s heart healthy diet and meal options here.