5 foods to promote heart health
A healthy heart is important at any age, and eating a varied and balanced diet can help promote good heart health every step of the way.
When it comes to what you eat, choosing the right foods can help you reduce your risk of heart disease. Here’s a few healthy and delicious ingredients to incorporate into your daily diet to boost heart health, lower your cholesterol and help lower the risk of high blood pressure.
Fat is something we’re traditionally told to avoid, but it’s really about eating the right kind of fat. Saturated fat and trans fat can increase the levels of cholesterol in your blood, which can lead to heart disease, so you should look to replace them with mono and polyunsaturated fats. Cut down animal fats like butter or high-fat cooking fats and swap them for foods like extra virgin olive oil, walnuts, almonds and avocado.
You can still enjoy bread, pasta and rice as part of a balanced diet. The key is to get rid of the low-fibre white grains, like white bread, white rice and white pasta, and replace them with whole grain versions. Whole grains are a good source of B-complex vitamins, which will protect against blood clots and the hardening of the arteries, and can increase the ‘good’ cholesterol in your body. Think a tasty whole grain loaf of bread, a high fibre cereal, oats, or slow cooked brown rice.
Including fish in your diet is a great way to get protein and is a healthier choice than red meat. Many fish, especially salmon and tuna, are rich with Omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins. The fatty Omega-3 acids do great things for the body, like helping to protect against heart attacks, reducing the risk of blood clots, and lowering your blood pressure.
Lots of legumes
If you’re vegetarian, not a fish fan, or want to vary your diet, then you’ll be pleased to know that you can get Omega-3 fatty acids from other sources. Legumes are an excellent way to get these heart helping acids as well as fibre, vitamins, and protein, and it’s easy to incorporate them into your meals. The best legumes to add for a healthy heart are black beans and kidney beans, while chickpeas, lentils, and peas are also a valuable addition to a diet. If you’re using tinned beans and are worried about bloating, just rinse them in cold water to minimise the risk of wind.
A star ingredient in a healthy heart diet is the humble blueberry. These tiny treats pack a punch with dietary fibre, important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, as well as being low in calories and sugar. Other berries are good for your heart too, with blackberries, strawberries and raspberries all being full of fantastic health benefits. What’s more, whether you’re buying fresh berries in the summer of frozen berries in winter you’ll find that they are tasty and good for you.
Have you ever thought about how your diet can promote heart health? Share your experiences in the comments below.
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