Certain foods can help reduce your risk of heart disease

With some mindful eating, you can reduce your risk of heart disease. These super foods, which contain beneficial fats, fibre, powerful antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals, protect your heart by lowering your blood pressure, increasing your good cholesterol and helping to prevent the build-up of plaque in your arteries. Keep these super foods in mind the next time you’re planning a meal.

10 Must-eat super foods for your heart

(not ranked by importance)

1. Almonds

Almonds are incredibly nutrient-dense, boasting a long list of vitamins and minerals that are crucial to heart health.

They are also a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and fibre, two important nutrients that can help protect against heart disease. Eating almonds can have a powerful effect on your cholesterol levels too.

Remember that while almonds are very high in nutrients, they’re also high in calories. Measure your portions and moderate your intake if you’re trying to lose weight.

Easy ways to add it to your diet

Almonds make a great snack but go for the baked, unsalted ones for a healthier choice. You can even drink it in the form of almond milk, better if unsweetened.

2. Walnuts

Walnuts are packed with omega-3s, healthy fats called monounsaturated fats, plant sterols, and fibre.

In fact, a small handful of walnuts a day can lower your cholesterol and protect against inflammation in your heart’s arteries.

Easy ways to add it to your diet

Similar to almonds, you can easily snack on walnuts, toss them into a salad, into breakfast oats etc. Walnut butter spread is also a great alternative to peanut butter. 

3. Avocado

Avocados are an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which have been linked to reduced levels of cholesterol and a lower risk of heart disease.

They are also rich in potassium, a nutrient that’s essential to heart health. In fact, a single avocado provides 975mg of potassium, or about 28% of the recommended daily need.

Easy ways to add it to your diet

An avocado is best enjoyed on its own but it can also be easily enjoyed as a salad, spread and a smoothie (add fruits like banana or berries for added goodness).  

4. Berries

Berries are full of heart-healthy phytonutrients and soluble fibre. They are also rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins, which protect against the oxidative stress and inflammation that contribute to the development of heart disease.

They are a satisfying snack on their own or you can add them in cereal or yogurt. Try adding a few different types to your diet to take advantage of their unique health benefits.

Easy ways to add it to your diet

Eat them as they are, add them to yogurt or fruit salad or oats, blend them into a nourishing smoothie, have it as a jam etc, the options are endless!

5. Broccoli

Fibre, potassium and antioxidants in cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli, kale, cauliflower, brussels sprout, bok choy and cabbage) can help prevent cardiovascular disease.

Just a cup of broccoli can provide almost 5% of a person’s daily need for potassium.

Easy ways to add it to your diet

The healthiest way of course is to bake and steam broccoli, but stir frying it with lean meat is probably more appetising for most but be sure to go light on salt.

6. Carrots

Carrots aren't just good for your eyes, the antioxidants in them are also good for your heart. Second, the potassium in carrots can help keep your blood pressure in check. Thirdly, they have fibre, which helps you to stay at a healthy weight and lower your risk of heart disease.

Easy ways to add it to your diet

Chances are carrots are already in our daily diet in one form or another - steamed, boiled, stir fried or as an ingredient in soups etc. As carrots are rich in beta carotene which our body converts into vitamin A, having too much cartoene can lead to skin appearing a little yellow or orange, but this is harmless. An overdose of vitamin A is unlikely to happen because of diet alone, but can occur from supplement use.

7. Oats and oatmeal

Studies have shown that the beta-glucan fibre in oats is effective at reducing both total and LDL cholesterol levels. Beta-glucan may increase the excretion of cholesterol-rich bile, thereby reducing circulating levels of cholesterol in the blood.

Antioxidants in oats also have anti-inflammatory properties, preventing inflammation of the arteries and tissue damage.

Easy ways to add it to your diet

Homemade granola is so simple and quick to make, and you can customise it in any way you like! Check out this recipe for strawberry and banana oats that is super yummy and takes just 5mins to prepare.

8. Salmon

A top food for heart health, fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids - healthy fats that can lessen the risk of heart rhythm disorders and lower blood pressure. They also lower triglycerides and curb inflammation.

If you don’t eat much seafood, fish oil is another option for getting your daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids.

Easy ways to add it to your diet

Baked, grilled, smoked, poached or even just have it raw (as sushi), there are so many ways to enjoy omega-3. Here's a recipe for flaked seared salmon with herb brown rice from Professional Chef Jimmy Chok you can try at home!

9. Soy products

Eating tofu and other soy-based foods can lower risk of coronary heart disease. Soy foods contain omega-3 fats, essential polyunsaturated fats that have a number of heart health benefits, such as lowering cholesterol.

Choosing minimally processed soy foods will help you get maximum benefit from these heart-friendly fats.

Easy ways to add it to your diet

Tofu and soy are abundant in one form or another everywhere.

10. Tea

Polyphenols, organic chemicals that are found in both black tea and green tea, are known to have cardiovascular benefits. These include improving the function of blood vessels, increasing good cholesterol and reducing inflammation.

Easy ways to add it to your diet

How you include tea in your diet is not as important as what goes into your tea. Read this article to learn more.

Ref: O17​​​​

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