A smart move for protecting heart health is to feed your body heart-healthy foods. Foods good for heart health have valuable health benefits such as lowering blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglycerides, all health parameters involved in developing heart disease. In addition, making healthier food choices often results in some weight loss, which helps reduce the risk of other chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
Having a healthy heart means living a longer, more vibrant life
You’ll have more energy, breathe easier, and reduce medical expenses by making positive lifestyle changes such as relying on delicious, healthy foods.
So, to get started on your heart health journey, here is a list of the best foods your need for a healthy heart:
Pistachios are packed with both heart-healthy mono- and poly-unsaturated fats. In addition, pistachios burst with various vitamins, minerals, and fiber stabilizing blood sugar, and blood pressure, while lowering cholesterol. Pistachios also aid “good” gut bacteria in helping feed this microbiome of healthy microbes. Enjoy this crunchy treat as a satisfying snack when paired with fruit such as halo oranges or black grapes.
- Tart cherries
Tart cherries are among the best foods for reducing inflammation associated with heart disease. Compared to sweet cherries, tart cherries are a richer source of polyphenol antioxidants which help reduce blood cholesterol levels. Whether adding frozen tart cherries to a smoothie, eating dried tart cherries, or drinking tart cherry juice, you’ll feel good knowing this ruby red fruit can also reduce triglyceride levels and inflammation and improve belly fat, each correlated with heart disease.
The consumption of avocados has skyrocketed over the past two decades for a good reason. Avocados are an important part of a heart-healthy diet. Research shows that avocados protect the heart, like extra virgin olive oil and walnuts. Rich in potassium, good for regulating blood pressure, fiber, and vitamins B, E, and C, avocados also provide other nutrients like phytosterols, which are good for heart health. Phytosterols help lower cholesterol, a major risk factor for heart disease. Add avocados to smoothies for extra creaminess, cut up in chunks in salads, or mash and use as guacamole or for avocado toast.
A frequent dietary recommendation for improving heart health is to consume two fish meals a week, and salmon is one of the best. This cold water fish with a rich buttery taste is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids for lowering inflammation, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Salmon also provides an abundance of vitamin B12 and potassium and is a good source of vitamin D and protein. For a melt-in-your-mouth salmon experience, cook this fish dish either poached in olive oil, slow-roasted in the oven, or brined and pan-fried.
Small but mighty, flaxseed is a high fiber, omega-3 rich, and full of lignans, a phytochemical helping lower cholesterol to reduce your risk of heart disease. When utilizing this seed you’re your diet, always use ground flaxseed (not whole flaxseed) for better absorption and digestion. The nice thing about flaxseed is its versatility. Ground flaxseed can be easily added to cottage cheese, yogurt, smoothies, meatloaf, muffins, pancakes, and even waffles.
A nutrition powerhouse, beans are your heart’s best friend. Fiber-packed and loaded with heart-healthy nutrients such as magnesium, folate, and antioxidants promote improved blood sugar numbers, lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and better blood pressure readings. Add beans to dips, chili, salad, soups, tacos, casseroles, and pasta.
Whether you like your oats in a warm bowl of oatmeal or as overnight oats, this heart-healthy food is backed by research as a heart-healthy food. Oats’ heart-healthy claim comes from soluble fiber called beta-glucan, found abundantly in oats. Beta-glucan reduces blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and your gut bacteria love feasting on this fiber. Eating a half-cup of oatmeal daily provides 4 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. This combo of fiber paired with protein is perfect for feeling fuller and longer and reducing blood sugar spikes. There are a variety of oats to buy, including rolled, quick, instant, or steel-cut. The least processed varieties of either rolled or steel-cut oats are the best choices. They have higher amounts of beta-glucan and add a creamy, richer flavor to your meal.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.