6 Incredibly Heart-Healthy Foods

From seeds to Olive oil, every food is healthy for the heart

Heart Disease is one of the leading causes of death among men and women. It is also a major source of disability. Many factors can potentially increase the rate of heart disease. Although we could not control risk factors, including sex or age and family history, a number of ways could reduce heart diseases, such as eating healthy foods.

Every day, hundreds of people die from acute or chronic heart diseases. According to stats, In Louisiana (state of America) about 212 people die per 100,000 population and is at the fifth highest death rate among the U.S States. About 647,000 inhabitants die in U.S die annually. This is an alarming situation and needs immediate attention.

According to AHA, rate of heart diseases and stroke could be reduced by taking fruits and vegetables, and whole grains as a source of carbohydrates, with regular physical activity, avoiding smoking and maintaining of ideal body weight among the western population.

Continue reading to explore more about heart healthy foods and their marvelous benefits.

6 Heart Healthy Foods

For years, research has been made on food and heart diseases that focused on individual nutrients like fats, high dietary foods with cholesterol, and specific vitamins and minerals. According to research made by the Harvard School of Public Health, “dietary plans including all the fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, poultry, fish and meat are at 31% lower risk of heart diseases”.

In general, intaking healthy foods, avoiding smoking and maintaining blood pressure levels and normal weight help control heart disease risk.

Let’s have a look at the foods that minimize the heart diseases

  1. Fruits and vegetables
  2. Nuts and seeds
  3. Beans and Legumes
  4. Extra-virgin olive oil
  5. Healthy proteins
  6. Good fats

Fruits and Vegetables

All the colorful fruits and vegetables are heart-healthy because they are free from fat, calorie, sodium, and cholesterol. They provide all the essential vitamins, fibers, minerals, and carotenoids to our bodies. In short, all fruits and vegetables protect us from heart diseases. They shield us from blood pressure, and stroke and reduce the risk of heart diseases. 

Research shows an increase in 1 serving of fruit or vegetables per day decreases the rate of coronary diseases by 4%. Conclusively, the addition of fruits and vegetables to the diet is good for the heart.

  • Eat fresh and seasonal fruits like apples, bananas, and oranges.
  • Use fresh green vegetables like spinach, lettuces, and tomatoes
  • Canned fruits with low sodium content.
  • Frozen vegetables without added butter or sauce
  • Eating five to six servings per day is better than juices.

Nuts and Seeds

Research reveals that nuts are a source of healthy fats, proteins, and healthful nutrients. A Health study states that people eating nuts several times a week are at a 33% to 50% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Regular consumption of nuts in a healthy diet prevents diseases. Eating healthy foods with plant protein is also beneficial in minimizing heart diseases.

Some oily seeds also contain antioxidants necessary for fighting many diseases. Seeds are a superb source of fiber and also helpful in reducing cholesterol levels. Nuts are highly energetic and beneficial in the following ways:

  • Contains micronutrients
  • Maintains body weight
  • Reduce heart diseases
  • Antioxidants reduce inflammation in vessels

Beans and Legumes

Beans and legumes are a source of high fiber and proteins. Eating beans could improve the cholesterol level in the blood. McClure says, ” substituting plant protein in your diet could reduce the intake of saturated animal fat “. Research shows increasing consumption of legumes primarily reduces cardiovascular diseases.

In a clinical study of 100 people with many diseases, eating a cup of legume was linked with a decrease in weight, lower LDL levels, and blood pressure. Legumes have a low glycemic index and are therefore good for the heart.

AHA recommends adding beans to your diet to reap its benefits. Data shows that canned or cooked beans could also be beneficial in protecting against heart diseases. 

Following types of beans and legumes due to their nutritional value are heart healthy

  • Lentils
  • Kidney beans
  • Peas
  • Soybeans
  • Black beans

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Research shows that Olive oil, especially extra virgin, reduces the rate of cardiovascular disease and is beneficial as a substitute for butter and mayonnaise. A study at American Heart Association Epidemiology and Prevention observed several men and women. Results show that people consuming a half tablespoon of olive oil per day were at a 15% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Replacing butter with olive oil could minimize the heart disease rate to 5%. Olive oil reduces inflammation and prevents excessive blood clotting leading to the betterment of the lining of blood vessels. Extra-Virgin olive oil has the following advantages

  • Lowers LDL level
  • Reduce heart diseases
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Aids in weight loss
  • Prevent stroke

Healthy Proteins

Meat, poultry, and seafood, particularly fish, is the main source of providing healthy proteins, vitamin B, and other nutrients. Fish could reduce your weight and provide omega 3 that helps reduce heart diseases and stroke. Proteins are essential for muscle building. Both animal and plant proteins are healthy. Healthy proteins in chicken and turkey are associated with a 19% lower risk of cardiovascular diseases.

How much protein intake is recommended?

  • 46 gram for women
  • 56 grams for men is the ideal protein quantity to be included in the daily diet.
  • Canada’s food guide recommends that protein should make up a half quarter of your plate.
  • Eating at least two servings of mercury-free fish is beneficial.

Processed meat has added preservatives therefore you can use fresh meat instead. The heart and stroke foundation of Canada provides many tips for choosing proteins.


Good Fats

Many fats are healthier like polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats from vegetables reduce heart diseases. American Health Association recommends eating a healthy diet limits 5 to 6% of calories from saturated fats.

These fats also prevent vessels from thinning or hardening. Healthy fats are liquid at room temperatures, such as sunflower oil, canola oil, and peanut oil. They are needed for the normal functioning of the body and heart.

Low and fat-free dairy products are also helpful in providing nutrition and preventing diseases.

  • Low-fat milk
  • Low-fat cheese
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Low-calorie mayonnaise

Eggs also don’t increase cholesterol so they can also be a part of our diet.

Final Thoughts

As with the increasing disease ratio, diet is important. Your plate must consist of all the foods that provide nutrition and protection from diseases. In this regard link between diet and the heart is important. Maintaining a diet and proper exercising majorly reduces heart diseases. Saving the heart and keeping it healthy is the first step towards a balanced and happy life.

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