Foods believed to be beneficial for cardiovascular health include:
- SALMON. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids that have an anti-clotting effect and help lower triglycerides – a type of fat that can lead to heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends at least two 3.5 ounce servings of fish a week. Other options are tuna, trout, sardines, and mackerel.
- NUTS. Eating five ounces of nuts each week can reduce your risk of heart disease. Walnuts have healthy monounsaturated fat which helps reduce LDL cholesterol (bad) and raise HDL (good) cholesterol. Other options include almonds, cashews, pistachios, flaxseed, and chia seeds.
- BERRIES. Rich in nutrition and fiber. Raspberries also have antioxidants that eliminate damage-causing free radicals. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, as well as all fruits and vegetables are excellent.
- POTASSIUM. Helps reduce blood pressure. Dairy products are high in potassium. Fat-free or low-fat options are best because they also help keep cholesterol low. Other foods high in potassium are bananas, oranges, and potatoes.
- SOLUBLE FIBER. Helps lower bad cholesterol. Eggplant, okra, apples, pears, chickpeas, lentils and other legumes are bountiful sources. For canned beans, pick the low-sodium or no-salt-added varieties and rinse them because sodium can raise blood pressure. Eggplant, okra, apples, and pears are also good choices. Oatmeal, barley, seaweed and shitake mushrooms offer beta-glucan fiber which also lowers LDL cholesterol.
- HEALTHY OILS. Such as olive oil, canola oil and safflower oil are healthy alternatives to the saturated fats found in meats, dairy products and butter
- CHOCOLATE. Made from the cacao plant it is rich in flavanols which can help lower blood pressure, prevent blood clots, and act as an antioxidant to keep bad cholesterol from sticking to artery walls. Dark chocolate is richer in flavanols and natural cocoa powder has more flavanols than processed powder.
- AVOCADOS. High in monounsaturated fats which lower bad cholesterol, and have an anti-inflammatory effect that helps reduce the chronic inflammation that causes hardening of arteries.
- UNSALTED NUT BUTTERS. Great sources of monounsaturated fats. Almond butter and peanut butter without sugar and hydrogenated fats are the best options.
- RED OR BLACK GRAPES. Have resveratrol which helps stop the platelets in your blood from sticking together. This may be why red wine in moderation can have some heart-healthy advantages.
To find a doctor or schedule an appointment, visit Steward DoctorFinder™.