Improving Heart Health

Our very existence is highly dependent on the proper functioning of the heart. The heart is responsible for pumping oxygenated blood to other body parts, receiving deoxygenated blood and carrying metabolic waste substances form the body and pumping it to the lungs for oxygenation, pumping hormones and other vital substances to different parts of the body and also maintaining blood pressure. All these functions mentioned above are essential for a person to be kept alive and well, when the heart cannot function well it may cause major complications in one’s everyday life. Generally, the heart acts as a pump in the body, providing the body with oxygen and nutrients while also pumping away/carrying away waste substances.

Diet plays a major role in heart health and can impact our risk of heart disease. Maximize your heart health by indulging in “hearty foods”, foods that make your heart smile/or function properly.

Eat:

Leafy green vegetables like spinach, which are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, these help lowering the risk of heart disease and protects your arteries and promote proper clotting of the blood.

Whole grains like whole-wheat bread, brown rice, oats, and unrefined mealie meal, which are rich in fibre reducing bad cholesterol cases, and risks associated with heart disease significantly.

Berries like blackberries, strawberries and raspberries are packed with nutrients and antioxidants that are important for heart health.

Avocados are a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats which help reduce cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease.

Omega-3 rich foods like flax seed, fatty fish; salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna. Studies have revealed that 1 in 324 people eating salmon 3 times a week for 8 weeks significantly decreased blood pressure, thus reducing heart disease risk.

Beans contain resistant starch that has been shown to reduce levels of cholesterol and lower blood pressure while also decreasing inflammation. A diet high in beans and legumes also significantly decreases levels of bad cholesterol.

Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants which helps boost heart health. However, be careful not to overindulge in chocolate as it may have high sugar and calorie content.

Tomatoes have been associated with containing lycopene and increasing good cholesterol while reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Garlic has been shown to help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol and help inhibit blood clot forming. Its inclusion in the diet works wonders for the heart.

Green tea has been associated with lower cholesterol, triglyceride, and blood pressure. It also increases fat burning sensitivity and insulin sensitivity as well. Green tea contains polyphenols and catechins which help reduce risk of heart disease.

NOTE: AVOID MEAL PREPARATION METHODS THAT INCLUDE THE USE OF SATURATED FATS (DEEP FAT FRYING AND CURRIES) & STAY CLEAR OF TOO MUCH INTAKE OF RED MEAT