Best foods for a healthy heart

Best foods for a healthy heart

You know you should eat certain foods to maintain a healthy weight, but did you know that eating the right foods can also help reduce your risk for heart disease?

It's true—a healthy diet, along with plenty of physical exercise, is crucial to heart health. You may already know the right foods to avoid, but which foods should you eat to promote heart health besides the standard fruits, veggies and lean meats?

Nuts: Throw a few nuts your salad, or simply grab a small handful for a heart-healthy snack. The unsaturated fat in nuts helps lower bad LDL cholesterol and boost good HDL cholesterol. Healthy nut choices include almonds, peanuts, pecans, walnuts and pistachios. Just be sure to watch your portion sizes—nuts still contain quite a few calories per serving.

Whole grains: Whole grains are rich in antioxidants, phytoestrogens and phytosterols, which all work to protect against coronary heart disease. In fact, studies have shown that eating whole grains rather than refined grains can lower your risk of heart disease by about 25 percent. Start by choosing whole grain bread over white bread, whole grain pasta over standard durum wheat pasta and high-fiber whole grain breakfast cereals over sugary cereals.

Beans: Not only are beans and legumes an inexpensive, versatile and delicious ingredient, but they're also great for you. They're full of protein, but without the saturated fat often found in animal proteins. Beans also contain soluble fiber, which may improve your blood cholesterol and help you feel fuller longer.

Salmon: Oily fish like salmon and tuna contain omega-3 fats, which have been proven to decrease risk of heart arrhythmia, decrease triglyceride levels, slow growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque and lower blood pressure. Aim to eat a serving of salmon (or other fatty fish, like mackerel) twice per week.

Other heart-healthy foods include unbuttered and unsalted popcorn, green tea, chocolate, tomatoes, apples, berries, pomegranates, bananas and, in moderation, red wine.

Starting a heart-healthy regimen is a good idea at any age. If you'd like more information on cardiovascular health, visit the Heart and Vascular Center at Goshen Health.

Posted: 9/30/2015 by Goshen Health
Filed under: Heart and Vascular

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