The CDC’s breakdown of heart health revealed that cardiovascular disease kills approximately 659,000 Americans each year. Accounting for 25% of deaths in the United States, cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death for both men and women.
But heart disease isn’t just deadly. Heart disease can also reduce quality of life. An article on heart diseases by SymptomFind shows that cardiovascular diseases can create uncomfortable symptoms, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, dizziness, and fatigue. To prevent such symptoms from developing, adults need to avoid the common causes of heart disease, such as lack of exercise, stress, and a poor diet.
Fortunately, lots of superfoods can help promote cardiovascular health and protect the heart against diseases. Superfoods refer to the kinds of food that are packed with vitamins and minerals. They have a whole host of benefits, ranging from aiding digestion to relieving inflammation.
If you want to protect your heart, here are some superfoods you may want to include in your next grocery run.
Beans, or pulses, are proof that superfoods don’t have to be trendy nor expensive. Beans such as kidney, pinto, chickpeas are high in soluble fiber which are known minimize a person’s risk for heart disease. Wall Street Journal pointed out that they can lower overall cholesterol levels depending on how the ingredients are prepared. Beans are a very versatile ingredient as they can be turned into snacks, pastas, milk and meat substitutes.
For those who have a sweet tooth but still want to maintain their health, berries provide a delicious solution. Like pulses, they are not limited to one type but actually come in different shapes, flavors, and seasons. Blueberries, raspberries, blackcurrants, and acai berries are known for containing anthocyanins. It’s an antioxidant that reduces bad LDL cholesterol buildup in the arterial walls which, when left unchecked, can form plaque and is a precursor to heart disease.
They may be small in size, but chia seeds pack a lot of punch. Chia seeds are a great source of the omegas. These fatty acids, particularly omega-3s which are abundant in chia seeds, elevate the levels of HDL cholesterol or the good kind of cholesterol. On top of that, the nutrient also lowers triglyceride levels. These beneficial effects keep your heart health in check.
Good for sweet and savory dishes, cinnamon is more than just a common spice. Some studies suggest that cinnamon may be beneficial for people with hypertension as it can manage abnormally high blood pressure, although conclusive evidence is still limited. Nonetheless, it has been proven that cinnamon regulates LDL cholesterol levels without reducing the amounts of HDL cholesterol in the blood stream. 1-4 grams of cinnamon is ideal for daily consumption, while too much can have a variety of side effects. Note that it’s not recommended for pregnant women and people with diabetes or liver disease.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Another ingredient that you can easily find is extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). It’s one of the best alternatives for oil that doesn’t damage the heart. NCBI confirms that EVOO has a high polyphenol content, which is known to have beneficial effects on cardiovascular health. It increases HDL cholesterol while subsequently reducing LDL cholesterol. In addition, EVOO has been found to be effective in preventing dangerous clotting that can affect blood flow.
Incorporate more of these superfoods into your diet to build better heart health. The recipes we share here at FoodPoints can help you get started. From savory bean meals to low carb berry jams, the options available are as delicious as they are healthy.