The high amount of soluble fiber in oatmeal cleans the digestive track and prevents the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. To avoid the sugar in instant oatmeal, dieticians recommend that people stick to the old fashioned kind. Grits, bread, pasta and other wholegrain foods are also good for the heart.
Fatty fish like mackerel, salmon and sardines have the omega-3 fatty acids needed to combat irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) and the buildup of plaque in the arteries (atherosclerosis). People should be eating fatty fish twice a week, according to the American Heart Association. Fish is also full of protein. For the healthiest results, it’s important to prepare fish in healthy ways to avoid the dangers of fried foods.
The daily consumption of dark chocolate can reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks. To receive this health benefit the chocolate needs to be at least sixty percent cocoa, and not the sugary-sweet milk chocolate that makes up the standard candy bar. The polyphenols in dark chocolate combat inflammation and clotting, and can lower blood pressure.
The antioxidants in berries lower blood pressure and increase blood flow through the dilation of blood vessels. People who eat three servings of berries per week can reduce their risk of heart attack by a shocking thirty percent.
Loaded with vitamin C, citrus fruits like grapefruits, oranges, lemons and limes contain flavonoids that combat the negative effects of obesity and prevent blood clots that lead to strokes. Citrus fruits fight heart disease by preventing damage caused by free radicals. If people get their fruit through juices, they should drink the kind without added sugar.
The potassium in potatoes can lower blood pressure, and their fiber can help prevent heart disease. While potatoes have no saturated fat or cholesterol, butter-rich mashed potatoes and fried potatoes can actually be bad for the heart, so it’s important to prepare them in a healthy way.
Soy reduces bad cholesterol and lowers blood pressure. High in fibers, minerals, vitamins and polyunsaturated fats, soy protein can be found in soybeans, tofu, soymilk and veggie burgers. Soy is also a good source of protein and contains no cholesterol.
The vitamin E in nuts like walnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios and almonds reduces bad cholesterol. The fiber and omega-3 fatty acids in nuts help make the heart healthy, and studies have shown that people who consume nuts on a regular basis are thinner than those who don’t. It’s best to eat nuts raw, since the store bought kind can contain an unhealthy amount of salt.
It’ good for the heart to drink one or maybe two glasses of alcohol per day. Red wine contains resveratrol, which helps prevent heart disease, but any type of alcohol will help the heart if it’s consumed in moderation. Because of the addictive nature of alcohol, doctors are quick to point out that resveratrol is also present in grapes and peanut butter.
Known in Asia as a miracle elixir, green tea can reduce risk of stroke and heart disease by twenty percent. Green tea contains antioxidants called catechins (specifically Epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCg) which promote the stabilization of free radicals. To get these benefits, a person should be drinking at least four cups of green tea per day. Green tea is a healthy replacement for coffee, as it contains much less caffeine.
Consumption of these foods will greatly reduce the risk of heart complications. For maximum health benefits, a person should combine healthy eating with an exercise routine.
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