The heart is one of the most important organs in our body. We are alive because our heart is pumping inside the body. It cleans the blood and pumps healthy blood to the rest of the body. Keeping your heart healthy is key to your long and healthy life.

There are many things you can do to keep your heart healthy such as regular exercise, an annual checkup, quit smoking and practice de-stressing activities. However, one simple lifestyle change that will benefit your heart is watching what you eat!

Food has a strong connection with a healthy heart. Eating a healthy diet with the right number of calories is an essential part of taking care of the heart. The American Heart Association suggests a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, and nuts.

 So let’s have a look at top food options that help you to maintain your heart healthy – 

1: Green leafy vegetables

Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collard greens are well known for their richness with vitamins, minerals, and fibres. They are rich in vitamin K that helps to regulate blood clotting time. These green vegetables are full of antioxidants that help to keep your heart healthy and counter potentially harmful compounds in your body. They also have dietary nutrients that reduce blood pressure and lowers the stiffness of blood vessels so that they can improve their function. 

You can add these vegetables to salads, sandwiches, or curries. You can also mix them with rice or pasta. The possibilities are endless.

2: Citrus foods 

Oranges, Tomatoes are high in vitamin C and antioxidants that benefits your body in various ways. These fruits are also rich in vitamin A, folate, fibres, carotenoids, flavonoids, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Eating citrus fruits can prevent the future formation of heart blockages. 

According to a study, women who eat more flavonoids found in orange have a 19% lower risk of ischemic stroke (caused by a clot).

You can eat them raw or drink them as juice. You can also add these fruits in salads, sauces, or yoghurt. They are the best food to prevent blockages. 

3: Whole grains

Whole grain contains simple carbs that digest slowly, which is good for health, unlike complex carbs. They are rich in digestive fibres and omega-3 fatty acids that help to reduce bad cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart diseases. Whole grains include whole wheat, oats, brown rice, and quinoa. 

You can use oatmeal on its own as a healthy breakfast. If you want to eat bread, make sure it should make of bran or whole wheat. Avoid white rice and replace it with brown rice to add fibre, magnesium, and Vitamin B to your diet. 

4: Nuts 

Nuts include almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and peanuts contain fibres and vitamin E that helps to lower bad cholesterol and keep your heart healthy. Nuts also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, mono-saturated fats, calcium, and magnesium. Walnuts are high in plant-based omega-3 fatty acids called alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, tied to anti-inflammation and improved circulation. Many people add nuts to salads and also eat a handful of nuts as a snack.

5: Seeds 

Chia seeds and flax seeds are good sources of heart-healthy nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and fibers. They help to lower levels of triglycerides, bad cholesterol, and total cholesterol. They also reduce blood pressure and minimize the buildup of fatty plaques in the arteries.

You can sprinkle them on just about any meal or snack, including yoghurt, oatmeal, muffins, and breakfast cereals. 

6: Fatty fish and fish oil

Fish and its oil are some of the best foods for your healthy heart and arteries. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel has omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for removing plaque from your vessels. It also helps to decrease bad cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. You can eat fish in a grilled or steamed form.

7: Dark Chocolate  

Many of us don’t think about this option, but dark chocolate is very beneficial for heart health. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants, resveratrol, and cocoa phenols (flavonoids) that lower blood pressure and lower the risk of having calcified plaque in the arteries. Always buy dark chocolate with low sugar to satisfy your sweet tooth. 

8: Garlic 

Garlic contains a chemical compound called Allicin that reduces blood pressure and enhances your heart health. It also clears the blood clots in arteries. You can chop or press raw garlic and add this garlic to salads, sandwiches, or sprinkle. 

Other foods for a healthy heart 

  • Legumes and beans
  • Berries 
  • Olive oil
  • Green tea
  • Red wine 
  • Fresh herbs

Changing your eating habits and avoiding certain foods are necessary to keep your vital organ-heart healthy. Try various exercises, meditation, and a balanced diet to prevent health issues. Including the above heart-healthy foods as part of a nutritious, well-balanced diet can help keep your heart healthy and minimize your risk of heart disease.

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