The Top 5 Foods For Heart Health

Author: Adam Macdougall   Date Posted:16 March 2018 

There are easy ways to separate yourself from the pack and turn back the clock on your heart.

In fact, according to a recent study at Emory University,

more than 50 percent of all heart attack deaths can be prevented with a handful of dietary changes.

So take your heart health into your own hands. 

 

1. DARK CHOCOLATE

Great news, chocoholics: Dozens of studies show that people who consume cocoa

as a hot drink or eaten as dark chocolate—are in much better cardiovascular shape than those who don’t.

One nine-year study in the journal Circulation Heart Failure found women who ate one to two servings of high-quality chocolate per week had a 32 percent lower risk of developing heart failure than those who said no to the cocoa.

And a second long-term study found that men who ate the most chocolate–about 1/3 of a cup of dark chocolate chips per week–had a 17 percent reduced risk of stroke compared to those who didn’t consume chocolate.

Researchers attribute cocoa’s health benefits to polyphenols and flavanols,

anti-inflammatory compounds that help protect the heart.

Opt for dark chocolate that’s at least 70 percent cacao to reap the maximum antioxidant benefits.

2. TOMATOES

We eat more tomatoes and tomato products than any other non-starchy “vegetable.”

And that’s good news, researchers say, because tomatoes are particularly rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that,

unlike most nutrients in fresh produce, increases after cooking and processing.

Dozens of studies suggest a relationship between regular intake of

ycopene-rich tomatoes and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, skin damage, and certain cancers.

Researchers even found a concentrated “tomato pill” improved the widening of the blood

vessels in patients with cardiovascular disease by over 53 percent compared to a placebo.

Since the disease-fighting polyphenols in tomatoes occur in the skin, grape and cherry tomatoes are a healthier option.

3. YOGHURT

 

A study of more than 2,000 adults revealed that those who consume just 2 percent of their total daily calories from yogurt—that would be like eating one six-ounce cup of yogurt every three days—have a 31 percent lower incidence of hypertension than those who eat the creamy stuff less often, according to the American Heart Association.

And another study found that each weekly serving of yogurt was associated with a 6 percent reduction in one’s risk of hypertension. It goes back to those two essential nutrients, vitamin D, and calcium. And some yogurts also carry a nice dose of potassium, a proven blood-pressure reducer. An 8-ounce container of Stonyfield’s Organic Smooth & Creamy yogurt, for example, contains up to 11 percent of the day’s recommended intake, more than you’d get from a small banana. Just keep an eye out for flavored yogurts—they are usually packed with added sugars. 

4. SWEET POTATO

The king of slow carbs (meaning they’re digested slowly and keep you feeling fuller and energized longer), sweet potatoes are loaded with fiber and nutrients and can help you burn fat. The magic ingredient here is the carotenoids, antioxidants which stabilize blood-sugar levels and lower insulin resistance, which prevents calories from being converted into fat. That means they reduce your risk of diabetes, one of the greatest threats to your heart. And their high vitamin profile (including A, C, and B6) give you more energy to burn at the gym.

5. AVOCADO

The fatty fruit may add much-needed creaminess to your salads and sandwiches, but besides for flavor and texture, avocados also pack in a solid dose of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) as well reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease and inflammation, according to Splaver. Stick to topping your lunch with just a ¼ of the calorie-dense fruit to reap the benefits.

*Source Eat This, Not That

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