Men’s Health Week: 5 heart-healthy foods to incorporate into your diet

Heart disease is still the world’s biggest killer

As men get older, heart health becomes a major priority. Not only are heart disease and stroke the leading causes of death globally, but experts say that they’re more likely to affect men than women too.

“The average human heart pumps around 9,000 litres of blood around the body every day. It’s a relentless job, and one that needs our support,” says Dr. Earim Chaudry, medical director at men’s health platform Manual.

“If you’re a man, taking care of your heart is doubly important – quite literally, as studies have shown men are twice as likely to have a heart attack as women.”

Earim says that medical professionals aren’t sure what causes this difference. “Some believe it’s a result of men being more likely to partake in damaging lifestyle choices, whereas other studies have linked it to protective qualities in oestrogen, meaning women are less exposed until they are post-menopausal.”

X-Ray Beating Heart GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

He adds: “Men also tend to experience heart problems at a younger age than women, making them susceptible for a larger portion of their lives. In the US, for example, the average age for a first heart attack is 65 in men, compared with 72 in women.”

The fact stands that if you’re a man, it pays to start thinking about heart health sooner rather than later.

Quitting smoking, exercising daily and limiting alcohol are some important things you can do to reduce your risk of heart issues later down the line, but making smart food choices is also key.

As today marks the start of Men’s Health Week, we’ve found a handful of heart-healthy foods to load onto your plate more often.

1. Berries

When it comes to keeping your heart healthy, berries are nutritional powerhouses that all men could benefit from eating more of.

Common varieties like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are packed with anthocyanins – a type of flavonoid that’s responsible for giving berries, as well as other fruit and veg, their red, purple or blue colour.

Anthocyanins are good for us as they can protect the body against the oxidative stress that can contribute to health problems like heart disease.

Try sprinkling a berry mix onto breakfast porridge or simply wash and plate them up as a healthy afternoon snack.

2. Fatty fish

The essential fatty acids in fish like tuna, salmon and mackerel are vital for maintaining men’s heart health, especially as they age. This is because fatty fish is packed with Omega-3, a type unsaturated fatty acid that’s long been studied for its anti-inflammatory effects.

In fact, a 2009 study found that eating salmon three times a week, over the course of two months could significantly decrease blood pressure in some adults.

Experts recommend eating at least one portion of oily fish a week to reap the health benefits.

3. Seeds and nuts

Research has found that people who are in danger of a heart attack can cut their risk by including more nuts into their diet.

A 2014 study found that eating walnuts, in particular, can reduce ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in the body, which can play a key role in the build up of deposits in your arteries.

Other nutrient-dense nuts to add into salads and snacking include almonds, pistachios and cashews, which are also good sources of dietary fibre and protein.

4. Olive oil

Olive oil is a key staple of the Mediterranean diet, which has been linked with overall good health, including a healthier heart.

The diet incorporates many of the eating habits of countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, with an emphasis on plant-based foods and fish, rather than meat and dairy.

A 2014 study of 7,216 adults also found that those who included olive oil in their diet had a 35% lower risk of developing heart disease, and that the extra-virgin variety gave extra protection.

5. Leafy greens

Leafy greens such as kale and spinach are not only low in calories but are packed with disease-fighting vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Notably, they’re a great source of vitamin K, which is vital for proper blood clotting in the body, and could help protect against osteoporosis and inflammatory disease.

Green leafy vegetables are also jam-packed with nitrates, which a 2015 study suggested can reduce blood pressure.

If you don’t love the taste of fresh greens in a salad or nourish bowl, you could try whizzing them up in a morning smoothie with some fresh fruit to sweeten the bitter taste.

Have you got a health question?

We've teamed up with AXA PPP healthcare to bring you articles, information and tips from their clinical teams on a wide range of health topics. And if you have a question of your own, their, "Ask the Expert" service allows you to ask the team of friendly, experienced nurses, pharmacists and midwives about any health topic and they'll get back to you with an answer as soon as they’re able.* So if you have something that’s been bothering you, whether it concerns you or someone close to you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Click below to submit your query online.


* Nurses are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Midwives and pharmacists are available Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm; Saturday, 8am to 4pm; and Sunday, 8am to 12pm.
Actual response time will depend on the nature of your enquiry and availability of appropriately qualified experts but the team will always aim to get back to you within 24 hours.
Please note that our Expert Help services are there to offer health information and support. They do not diagnose or prescribe, and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice given in the context of an individual consultation.


The following two tabs change content below.

The Press Association

News from the Press Association - the national news agency for the UK and Ireland

Leave a Comment!

Not a member?

You need to be a member to interact with Silversurfers. Joining is free and simple to do. Click the button below to join today!

Click here if you have forgotten your password

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!