Among men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the US.
An unhealthy diet is among the most common risk factors for heart disease. The good news is, you can change your diet and reduce your risk of heart disease (as well as a host of other health conditions that are aggravated by what you eat).
A strict diet full of whole foods and low in refined sugars has a profound impact on your overall health. But, in terms of your heart, there are some foods you’ll want to focus on more than others.
Below is a full run down of the best food for your heart, from nuts and seeds to fruits and vegetables. Keep reading to learn how to keep your heart strong with the food you eat.
Nuts, Seeds, Grains
Monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats are healthy fats. These healthy fats have a positive impact on cholesterol levels, and cholesterol is a key risk factor when it comes to heart attacks (you can get more info on that here). Nuts such as almonds are high in both of these healthy fats and are therefore a great food for your heart.
Seeds are also among the healthiest food to eat for your heart. Pumpkin seeds and chia seeds both contain omega-3 fatty acids, which decrease the risk of stroke and heart failure, lower blood pressure, and reduce blood clotting. Sesame seeds can help combat bad cholesterol.
Regular consumption of grains such as barley, buckwheat, oats, and quinoa prevents heart diseases. They can also have an impact on bad cholesterol.
Red meat isn’t good for your heart health. In fact, one study showed that people who eat a diet that’s rich in red meat have three times the levels of a chemical that’s linked to heart disease than those who eat diets rich in white meat or plant-based proteins.
Instead of red meat, opt for fish, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. The most heart-healthy fish are salmon, tuna, and mackerel. You might also opt to take fish oil or supplements if you don’t eat a lot of seafood.
Fruits & Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables are some of the healthiest food to eat for your heart. Collard greens, kale, and spinach all have high amounts of vitamin K as well as dietary nitrates. Some studies have linked increased leafy green consumption with a lower risk of heart disease.
Tomatoes and avocados are great options for a strong heart. Tomatoes contain antioxidants that prevent oxidative damage and inflammation. Avocados contain monounsaturated fatty acids, which we’ve already mentioned reduce cholesterol.
The best fruits for heart health are berries. Blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries are full of vitamins and nutrients that support a healthy heart.
More Food for Your Heart and Healthy
Most Americans could benefit from eating more heart-healthy food. Some of the best food for your heart are nuts, grains, and seeds, fish, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. A diet rich in these items improves your heart health and reduces your risk of heart disease.
If you’re looking for more tips and tricks on how to improve your diet and overall health, have a read through our Health section. And check back regularly for updates.