Heart disease remains the number one killer in the United States and in many other countries around the world, affecting rich and poor nations alike. Most medical experts believe that this is due to a combination of poor diet, sedentary lifestyle and stress as well as the fact that around two-thirds of the people in this country are considered to be overweight or obese.
However, a healthy lifestyle combining a good diet with regular exercise, stress management and weight loss can help reverse the course of heart disease and lower the chances of heart attacks and strokes. Foods that can help, for instance, to reduce cholesterol (a major heart disease risk factor) are important to include the diet. Ten of these foods are discussed below.
This leafy green veg helps lower cholesterol in a number of ways. It is rich in the antioxidant lutein, which lowers LDL cholesterol levels and prevents plaque formation in the arteries. It is also high in fiber, which acts as a natural scrubber for the arteries to keep them open.
Oatmeal, like kale, is incredibly high in fiber. This is important, because fiber has been shown to be able to keep the arteries clean, soaking up excess cholesterol and removing it from the body before it can form a plaque.
Apples are great for heart health as they are rich in fiber but also contain polyphenols. Polyphenols are plant-based compounds which help to lower cholesterol levels and support overall cardiac health.
Garlic has long been valued for its cardio-protective properties: its main active compound, allicin, has been shown to lower bad LDL cholesterol levels while raising the good HDL levels and improving overall cholesterol ratios.
Perhaps one of the most delicious ways to help improve cholesterol is to eat moderate amounts of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains a compound called procyanidin, which has been proven to help lower high cholesterol levels.
This leafy green vegetable has high amounts of fiber in it and, like kale, contains a generous amount of lutein which, as previously stated, has been linked to lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Avocados are an incredibly rich source of oleic acid, a kind of monounsaturated fat that has been linked to higher levels of good HDL cholesterol as well as to improved overall cardiac health and function.
The flavonoids in green tea which make it so good for the immune system also help to make this a very heart-healthy beverage. It can also help with weight loss and that, too, is important for lowering cholesterol.
Blueberries contain a compound called pterostilbene; the compound has been shown to speed up the body’s metabolism of cholesterol, thus lowering LDL cholesterol levels.
Tomatoes are one of the healthiest foods for the heart due to the presence of lycopene. Lycopene is an incredibly potent antioxidant which lowers triglyceride and cholesterol levels and keeps plaque from forming in the arteries.
Heart disease is serious. However, a diet rich in any or all of the foods listed above is a natural and effective way to prevent the onset of serious cardiac issues.
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