According to some studies, heart disease is one of the deadliest diseases in the world. This is in large part due to the diet most individuals now consume.
Unfortunately the average diet consists mostly of processed foods that raise your blood pressure, clog your arteries, cause inflammation in your body and raise your cholesterol levels (the bad kind).
All of these issues can put you at risk for developing heart disease.
The good news is you can guard your heart and prevent heart disease by simply changing the way you eat.
Here are 5 foods that can help you keep your heart strong and healthy.
1. Leafy Green Vegetables
When it comes to keeping your heart healthy and strong leafy green vegetables are at the top of the list.
The great thing about leafy green vegetables is all the wonderful minerals, vitamins and antioxidants they contain.
Spinach and Kale are both loaded with vitamin K, which has been proven to not only protect your arteries, but also ensure your blood clots properly. Spinach and Kale are also great sources of dietary nitrates.
A study done on close to 30,000 women showed that increasing your intake of leafy green vegetables will directly reduce your risk of developing coronary heart disease.
Avocados are a great source of monosaturated fats, which helps your heart stay healthy by reducing cholesterol levels.
Eating just one avocado a day can result in your LDL, the bad cholesterol, being significantly reduced.
A study done on over 17,000 individuals showed that those who ate avocados on a regular basis were less likely to develop metabolic syndrome.
Avocados are also a really great source of potassium, a nutrient that plays a major role in your overall heart health.
One avocado has close to 1000 milligrams of potassium and will provide you with 28% of the daily recommended dosage.
All it takes is 4.8 grams of potassium per day to decrease your blood pressure and thus lower your risk of having a stroke.
3. Olive Oil
The heart health benefits associated with olive oil have long been documented. It is jammed packed with antioxidants that have been proven to help reduce your risk of developing chronic disease.
Olive oil also contains a decent amount of monounsaturated fatty acids, which studies have shown can be beneficial to heart health.
One particular study done on 7,216 adults, all of whom were considered to be at high risk of developing heart disease, showed that those who had more olive oil in their diet were 35% less likely to develop heart disease.
Even better is the fact that increasing your intake of olive oil can decrease your risk of dying from heart disease by close to 50%.
The great thing about olive oil is you can use it in a variety of different ways. You can use it to roast vegetables or drizzle it on your salad. Have fun and get creative with the ways you add it into your diet.
4 – Berries
All berries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries, are loaded with nutrients that are vital to heart health.
This antioxidant rich food helps protect you from inflammation and oxidative stress. Two things that can have a direct impact on how at risk you are for developing heart disease.
Many studies have also shown that eating berries on a regular basis can reduce a variety of different risk factors associated with heart disease.
Blueberries in particular can help the cells that line your blood vessels function a lot better. This will in turn keep your blood pressure under control and ensure your blood clots properly.
But that’s not all berries can do. One study done on 22 individuals showed that eating berries not only helps with heart health, but doing so can also reduce your body mass index, lower LDL cholesterol, and reduce systolic blood pressure.
For best results try adding a variety of berries to your diet.
5 – Tomatoes
Tomatoes contain a great deal of lycopene, which is a natural plant pigment that is full of some very powerful antioxidants.
These very powerful antioxidants do three very important things. Prevent inflammation, render free radicals harmless and stop oxidative damage in its tracks.
When you don’t have enough lycopene in your system it can put you at greater risk of heart attack and stroke.
The good news is studies have shown that consuming foods rich in lycopene can reduce your risk of both heart disease and stroke.
We understand that not everyone is a fan of tomatoes. But if you can stomach it, eating two tomatoes four days out the week can increase your HDL which is the good cholesterol.
When you have plenty of good cholesterol the bad cholesterol, also known as LDL, gets removed from your bloodstream so your heart can remain healthy and strong.
It also removes plaque from your arteries which helps prevent heart disease and stroke.