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Heart-Healthy Superfoods

Updated on May 24, 2017

A close look at your dinner plate could reveal a lot about the health of your heart. To keep your heart healthy, you need to consume foods rich in essential nutrients and avoid fatty and fried foods. Healthy diet and healthy lifestyle are powerful weapons to fight heart disease.

Dr. Walter Willett is of the opinion that up to 70 percent of heart disease can be averted with the right regimen. He says that diet is more effective than drugs in reducing the risk of heart disease.

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What are superfoods? Erin Hurst, clinical dietician at St. Joseph Health System in Mishawaka, says there is no clinical definition for superfoods. However, pop culture and social media tell you daily that superfoods are really very good for your health.

“You can find superfoods for anti-cancer, for heart health. You could find superfoods for babies,” explained Hurst. Typically, superfoods are foods that are packed with goodness.

“They are really nutrient dense. They are typically lower in calories but they provide more concentrated nutrition of vitamins, minerals and some things like flavonoids and phytochemicals.”

Here are five superfoods for better heart health.

Heart Healthy Superfoods

Orange

Orange contains hesperidin, a flavan-on glycoside that improves blood vessel function and lowers heart disease risk. Pectin, a soluble fiber in this citrus fruit, sops up cholesterol in food and blocks its absorption.

Potassium prevents hypertension, which is one of the main causes of ischemic heart disease. Galectin-3 is a carbohydrate-binding lectin. It causes scarring of heart tissues, which leads to congestive heart failure. It is very difficult to treat this disease with medicines. Pectin helps neutralize galectin-3.

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Kale

Essential nutrients in kale like potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, and vitamin C make it a heart healthy food. Kale lowers harmful LDL cholesterol levels, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease. Kale also contains potassium.

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Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolates contains flavonoids, which protect the cardiovascular system. Oxidation can cause LDL cholesterol to form plaque on the artery walls. Antioxidants in kale inhibit oxidation, thereby preventing plaque formation on the artery walls. Flavonoids lower blood pressure and improve blood circulation to the heart.

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Lentils

Lentils contain fiber, folate and magnesium, which work together to keep your heart robust and healthy. Folate reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Magnesium, an essential macro-mineral, is critical for heart health. Heart has the highest magnesium requirement of any organ, specifically the left ventricle. Even a little magnesium deficiency can lead to profound changes in how the heart, blood vessels, blood cells and other tissues function.

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Almonds

Almonds are rich in healthy monounsaturated fat. Vitamin C and fiber in almonds keep your heart healthy. A research study indicates that people who eat nuts at least twice a week are less likely to gain weight than people who do not consume nuts.

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Pomegranate

This delicious fruit is loaded with heart-protective agents. It contains antioxidants that protect endothelial cells against damage caused by free radicals. This heart healthy food reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Summary

  • Up to 70 percent of heart disease can be averted with the right regimen.
  • Diet is more effective than drugs in reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Orange improves the functioning of blood vessels.
  • Kale lowers bad cholesterol levels.
  • Dark chocolate protects the cardiovascular system.
  • Pomegranate is a heart healthy superfood.

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I believe that the greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you.

— Joyce Meyer

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