The heart is one of the most important muscles that helps pump blood to the different parts of the body. As the blood provides oxygen and vital nutrients to the multiple organs inside us, the heart becomes a major intersection point for all the passageways of our nutrition.
Best foods to eat for a healthier heart
Because the heart is a vital part of the body, these food suggestions are the best choice if you want to specifically help your heart out.
These are some of the most inexpensive, yet healthy food choice available. Belonging to the legume family, beans help lower cholesterol due to soluble fiber, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and oxidative stress as it contains phytochemicals, and even maintain a healthy level of blood glucose and insulin levels.
Of course, all good things should come in moderation. Beans have a daily recommended intake of about 25 grams for women and about 35 grams for men. They can be distributed along food choices such as:
– Beans in Whole-grain Tortilla or Pita
– Beans in Salads or Pastas
– Beans cooked along with other vegetables
As some of the healthiest meats available, fish is packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, which have tons of health benefits including heart health. These reduce inflammation and clogged arteries, reduce blood clotting, reduce irregular heartbeats, and even help a bit with blood pressure circulation.
Recommended intake of oily fish is about 2 servings per week. This can be distributed into different types of food such as:
– Steamed Fish with Vegetables
– Baked Fish with Potatoes
– Fish and Seafood Pasta
These small nuts are packed with helpful nutrients that maintain a healthy heart. Unsaturated fats help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Omega-3 fatty acids are also included, keeping away heart attacks. Vitamin E helps stop plaque build-up which may clog arteries. L-arginine improves artery health, making them more flexible against blood clots.
Almonds have a recommended daily intake of about 30 grams or about 20 almonds to reap its benefits, which should be coupled with a healthy diet of different food selections as well. They can be taken as snacks or be included in desserts.
Containing several heart-healthy nutrients, oatmeal is a delicious and nutrient-packed meal. It has omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. It has soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol. Aside from maintaining a healthy cholesterol level, it also helps clear the arteries up to provide a normal pathway for blood to circulate.
The recommended daily intake of oatmeal is about 170 grams or 6 ounces. You can separate it in different meals during the day. A good serving of oatmeal can be done with several fruit combinations along with it.
These small blue berries are packed with antioxidants. Touted as the best fruit in antioxidant activity, blueberries reduce the build-up or harmful cholesterol around the arteries, keeping them open for better circulation. They also neutralize harmful free radicals in the body.
Blueberries have a daily recommended intake of 1 cup. You can eat these through different means such as:
– by themselves as a snack
– added to cereals and oatmeals
– added to pastries such as muffins or cupcakes
An ancient yet healthy herb, garlic is also a heart-healthy food. It boosts blood circulation and is used to regulate high or low blood pressure and maintains a healthy level of cholesterol. It helps lower the chances of having heart diseases and heart attacks helps unclog arteries.
The recommended intake of garlic is about 4 grams or one to two cloves of garlic per day. This can be distributed into different flavorful dishes including the following:
– Garlic and Herb Salad
– Garlic Fried Chicken
– Garlic Mac and Cheese
– Sauteed Spinach and Garlic
Apple, considered as one of the best fruits for overall health, is really as such. It can help reduce cardiovascular diseases and helps with lowering cholesterol levels. The fruit is rich in pectin, a soluble fiber which blocks absorption of cholesterol. Apple peels have polyphenol, an effective antioxidant that fights off free radicals around the body.
As the famous adage goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. This is actually the recommended daily intake for the fruit. A medium-sized apple can do the trick, as eating 2 or more may add up to your caloric and sugar intake. You can eat apples on different ways including:
– Eating an apple by itself
– Add as a dessert to pastries such as pies or cookies
– Apple juice or smoothie
– Peanut butter and apple sandwich
Dark chocolate, especially those that have a high cocoa content, is very heart-friendly. It contains a lot of antioxidants capable of fighting off free radicals. It reduces cholesterol and can improve blood circulation which helps promote a healthy heart. The chocolate is also associated with lowering cardiometabolic diseases.
The recommended daily intake of dark chocolate is about 30 to 60 grams. You can enjoy the chocolate in different types of desserts including cakes, cookies, or by itself.
A generally healthy food, Spinach is packed with antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids which help unclog arteries. It is rich in Vitamin B, specifically Folate, which builds and maintains healthy blood cells necessary for overall heart health. Potassium and magnesium help lower blood pressure and the risk for cardiovascular diseases.
The recommended daily intake for Spinach is 1 cup for uncooked and ½ cup for cooked. It has very little calories but is rich in fiber and other nutrients so it helps keep you full. You may eat the vegetable in different dishes such as:
– Salad with Spinach
– Spinach Feta Dip
– Creamed Bacon Spinach
– Lemon Shrimp with Spinach
– Toasted Garlic Ravioli with Spinach
Also known as flaxseed oil, it is packed with various nutrients that help the heart stay in shape. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation and improve heart condition. The oil also helps improve the elasticity of arteries, making blood flow easier and avoid clogging.
The recommended daily intake actually varies per person depending on the diet you’re going for. However, general recommendations vary from 1 to 2 tablespoons per day. You can take linseed oil in various ways including:
– Can be mixed with water, juice, or tea
– Can be taken in capsule form
– Mixed in with cooked food (not during cooking)
This powerhouse is packed with multiple nutrients excellent for the heart. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals from harming the body. It is also high in soluble fibers that help take out harmful cholesterol from the body. Sulforaphane in broccoli is a helpful anti-inflammatory prevents artery and blood vessel damage.
The recommended daily intake of broccoli is about ½ cup serving, coupled with other nutritious vegetables. Notable dishes you could do with the vegetable include:
– Salad with Broccoli
– Broccoli Slaw
– Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry
– Spicy Broccoli with Garlic
Nutritious and delicious, the Avocado is packed with many heart-healthy nutrients. Monounsaturated fats help lower bad cholesterol. The fruit also helps the absorption of nutrients into the body, such as beta-carotene and lycopene, both essential for heart health.
The recommended intake for this fruit is half a fruit per day. This is due to the amount of fat and calories it contains. Some notable dishes for the Avocado include:
– Avocado Watermelon Salad
– Avocado and Tuna
– Smashed Avocado and Milk
Happy Heart, Healthy Life
The importance of the heart to the whole body is already common knowledge. However most of us still don’t give it enough attention and care as it requires. As such, different diseases and weaknesses continue to pop up. However, with all the food listed above, coupled with their serving suggestions, it is best to allot certain days meant to prepare dishes that are heart-healthy.
The best cure for any illness is early prevention. This ensures we don’t even have to think of the problems in the long run. A happy heart means good blood circulation, healthy respiratory system, promotes an active lifestyle, and helps clean out our body with the help of fresh healthy blood. All of which, leads to a healthy life.