October 27, 2016
Great foods for your heart
Last month we took you through some of the best foods for your brain, in order to help you develop a healthy diet that has a positive impact on your body. Your brain isn’t the only part of your body that can be benefitted by eating the right foods, though.
Your heart also needs certain foods to help it function at its best for as long as possible. Taking care to eat foods that look after your heart is just as important as avoiding those that aren’t good for it.
With that in mind, here are some things you should add to your diet to keep you and your heart as healthy as possible:
As well as being a great way to start the day, porridge is a brilliant food for keeping your heart ticking over. It is full of soluble fibre, which has actually been found to help lower cholesterol, stopping it from being absorbed into the bloodstream. This effectively helps to keep your arteries clear of blockages.
On top of this, porridge is chock full of potassium and omega-3 fatty acids, which are also beneficial for your heart, as well as your health as a whole.
It’s important to remember to avoid instant porridge, though, as often this contains extra sugar. Stick with the classic porridge varieties, using honey or agave nectar to sweeten it. You can also add fruit for extra fibre, sweetness and nutrients.
Not only does avocado taste great on toast, it is a good food for looking after your heart. It is full of monounsaturated fat, which helps to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in your body, much like porridge does. Avocado also helps to increase the levels of good cholesterol in your system, providing even more benefits.
It’s important not to overdo it with avocados, though. While monounsaturated fat is technically good for you, you still don’t want too much in your diet. Stick to half an avocado a day – there are a lot of ways to eat it – and you’ll reap the benefits.
Whether you’re fan of strawberries, blackberries or raspberries, you need to add more of this delicious fruit to your diet. Not only do berries contain fibre and help you sweeten foods naturally in order to cut down on processed sugar; they also contain a lot of anti-inflammatories.
These can help to reduce your risk of heart disease, as well as certain types of cancer. Natural anti-inflammatories help to stop your arteries from becoming inflamed, which, in turn, can help to reduce the chance of blockages.
The best berries to have are blueberries and blackberries, but any type of berry fruit offers great benefits.
Salmon is a bit of a superfood as it is beneficial for so many different areas of the body. It’s an oily fish – like mackerel and sardines – which means it has omega-3 fatty acids in spades. This is beneficial in a number of ways, including helping to reduce the risk of irregular heartbeats and reduce triglycerides (bad fat) in your body.
The omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon are also important when it homes to reduce the build-up of plaque in the arteries, which can cause blockages and result in heart disease. To get the most out of salmon, you should eat it – or other fatty fish – at least twice a week.
Foods like tofu and soya milk are high in protein and bad fats and cholesterol, making them great additions to your diet. Soya products tend to contain high levels of good fats – just like avocados – as well as lots of vitamins, minerals and fibre. All of this is important for overall heart health.
However, soya has also been found to help reduce blood pressure, especially among those who eat a lot of refined carbohydrates. It also helps to reduce the amount of bad cholesterol that makes its way into your bloodstream.
You may think soya products taste a bit bland, but adding herbs and spices can create really flavourful and healthy meals.
Whether you eat them fresh or tinned – just be sure they contain no extra sugar – tomatoes are a great food for your heart. They are high in potassium, which is important for a healthy heart, as well as lycopene. This is an antioxidant that has been linked to lowering levels of bad cholesterol, as well as keeping blood vessels open and generally reducing the risk of heart attacks.
Tomatoes are also low calorie, so they won’t impact a healthy diet in a negative way. This essentially means that you can add as many as you like to your meals.