In this article, you can check 18 Best Foods You Should Eat For Healthy Heart And Weight Loss. The ideal diet for a wholesome heart is one that’s full of vitamins, minerals, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fiber. It also ought to be reduced in saturated fats and trans fats. The perfect balance of foods including healthy carbs and fats, lean protein, energy boosting veggies and fruits.
If your intent is to have a healthy heart, your own daily diet may be the most important component of it all. The foods for a healthy heart must be the right balance of carbohydrates, proteins, carbohydrates. Besides eating a wholesome eating plan, you may keep your risk factors to the absolute minimum by getting lots of rest, quitting smoking, keeping alcohol to a minimum, and getting some stress-reducing food and exercise daily. Staying fit doesn’t indicate your meals has to be dull or boring, once we explain to you here with those wholesome heart foods that will leave you fulfilled.
18 Best Foods You Should Eat For Healthy Heart And Weight Loss
Salmon is a star in terms of being a healthy heart food. Dietitians advocates eating fish and preferably fatty fish at least twice per week.
Here is how salmon promotes your heart health:
- Reduces arrhythmias and inflammation: Omega-3 fatty acids reduce arrhythmias and inflammation (by decreasing production of prostaglandins).
- Improves platelet and endothelial function: Nutrients in salmon are shown to improve platelet and endothelial functions, which are necessary for proper heart health
Oatmeal is high in soluble fiber, which may lessen cholesterol. It serves as a sponge in the digestive tract and also soaks the cholesterol up so it is expunged from the body and also never absorbed into the blood vessels. This is one of the great foods to eat to maintain your heart healthy.
Maybe not just blueberries, but strawberries and other berries are thought to be heart-healthy veggies. These berries have a chemical called anthocyanins, flavonoids (which are antioxidants) and help in decreasing the blood pressure and dilates blood vessels.
Potatoes are popular edible plant tubers eaten in many countries worldwide. They are a rich source of potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6, which all have beneficial effects on your cardiovascular health.
In fact, one large potato (200 g) contains 7 grams of dietary fiber (26% of RDI), 21% of RDI for folic acid, 48% of RDI for vitamin C, 38.9 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, 1.6 grams of potassium (46% of RDI) and 83.7 mg of magnesium (21% of RDI). Potatoes have no cholesterol or saturated fat in them. This makes them a good food for heart health.
Here is how potatoes act in prevention of heart diseases:
- Lower LDL cholesterol levels: Potatoes contain 26% of the recommended daily intake of dietary fiber, which is known to reduce LDL cholesterol levels.
- Protect heart cells from lack of oxygen: Quercetin in potatoes reduces the oxidative stress caused by ischemia in cardiomyocytes. It may protect these essential heart cells from damage.
- While potatoes are good for keeping your heart in good shape, due to their high glycemic index (GI) they may have an adverse impact on blood pressure levels. In fact, some studies show, that frequent consumption of baked or fried potatoes and chips results in the blood pressure increase (e.g. hypertension), which is an important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.
Therefore you should not eat potatoes more frequently than once a week (1 serving is about 1 medium-sized potato) to ensure that your blood pressure remains within “safe” borders.
The bottom line: Potatoes are rich in dietary fiber, polyphenols and folic acid, which makes them a good food for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. However, you should only eat about 1 serving per week as they may also increase the blood pressure.
5. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits are full of vitamin C, that has been linked with a lower chance of coronary disease.
Soy products contain high levels of polyunsaturated fats (good for the health), vitamins, fiber, and minerals. Soy reduces blood pressure in people who eat a diet high in refined carbohydrates. And in contrast to milk or other antioxidants, soy protein can, in fact, decrease LDL or”bad” cholesterol.
Soybeans are rich in various nutrients, which may improve your heart health.
1 cup (180 g) of soybeans contains 22 grams of protein and 30% of RDI for fiber. It also contains 25% of RDI for iron and 28% of RDI for potassium, 90 mg of phytosterols and over 400 mg of isoflavones.
Twenty-two randomized trials compared isolated soy protein with isoflavones with milk protein, casein, wheat protein and mixed animal proteins. Participants consumed 25 to 135 g of soy protein a day (with 40 – 318 mg of isoflavones a day). Most studies confirmed a significant reduction of LDL cholesterol and diastolic blood pressure.
The bottom line: Soybeans may decrease LDL cholesterol and diastolic blood pressure. These are important risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.
Like berries, tomatoes are high in heart-healthy potassium. Lycopene is a carotenoid which aids in eliminating of”bad” cholesterol, so maintain arteries open, and also decreased heart attack risk.
Sausage includes almonds, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts and macadamia nuts, all which contain good-for-your-heart fiber. Additionally, they contain vitamin E, which helps lower bad cholesterol. And some, like walnuts, are saturated in omega 3 efas too.
Walnuts are also rich in iron (5% of daily value), calcium (3% of daily value), omega-3 fatty acids (mainly ALA) and PUFA (polyunsaturated fats)
Here is how walnuts may promote your heart health:
- Decrease LDL cholesterol and diastolic blood pressure: Walnuts have been shown to decrease both LDL cholesterol (by 9 – 16%) and diastolic blood pressure (by 2 – 3 mm Hg). In the PREDIMED study, participants with high cardiovascular risks consumed the Mediterranean diet enriched with 30 g of mixed nuts (half of which were walnuts, the rest hazelnuts or almonds) every day for 12 weeks. Compared to a control diet the nut-consuming participants showed a decrease in oxidized LDL level, which is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease
- Improve oxygen supply to tissues: They are also high in vitamin E, which improves oxygen supply to tissues (as it helps form hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood).
Because they result out of plants, beans such as beans, lentils, and legumes are an excellent source of protein without plenty of unhealthy fat. Legumes assists in controlling blood glucose in diabetics. Lowering blood glucose levels is key in assisting people to avoid diabetes complications, one that will be heart disorder.
10. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive oil can be a fantastic source of monounsaturated fat fats, which can help reduce both the cholesterol and glucose levels. Olives themselves–both black and green –are another source of good fat.
Green-tea contains antioxidants known as catechins which aids to keep the heart-healthy.
12. Green Vegetables
Green vegetables provide an extra boost to your heart. All these are high in carotenoids, which act as antioxidants and free your body of potentially harmful chemicals. They’re also high in fiber and contain plenty of vitamins and minerals. Kale additionally contains some omega 3 efas.
13. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds in addition to chia seeds are saturated with omega3 fatty acids. In addition, they have high fiber information. Try them ground up along with additional heart-healthy food items, such as dried tomatoes, cranberries, or oatmeal or may be blended with soymilk and fresh fruit to produce a smoothie.
Avocados possess a well-established reputation for providing your own human body and heart with healthy fats. They have been full of the monounsaturated fats that lower cholesterol. They are also high in antioxidants and potassium.
Thus begin adding these superfoods in your everyday diet program and find a hale and hearty heart at the making. Heart health needs to be your priority that unfortunately takes a back burner for the fact that it usually shows no early symptoms. The reality of your heart strikes you only when it is quite late. So start now and get going on making your heart healthy!
15. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate contains powerful antioxidants called flavonoids (mainly flavan-3-ols), which are thought to promote your heart health. On average, one bar (100 grams) of dark chocolate (with 75 – 80% of cocoa) contain 93 – 651 mg of flavonoids.
It is also rich in iron (67% of RDA), fiber (11 g), copper (89% of RDA) and magnesium (58% of RDA).
Here is how dark chocolate may promote your heart health:
- Dilates your blood vessels: Flavanoids in chocolate increase NO production in the endothelium and widen the vessels (including aorta). This ultimately lowers the blood pressure.
- Protects cellular membranes from damage: Nutrients in chocolate inhibit destructive agents of cell membranes, which reduces inflammation and CVD risk.
Berries can do wonders for your heart health. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition, involving 72 middle aged people, eating just under one cup of berries for eight weeks is associated with blood pressure level decrease and the HDL (“good”) cholesterol level increase.
Different kind of berries was included in the mixture, like raspberries, bilberries, strawberries, and blueberries.
Berries are extremely healthy
Some other berries from Finland were also included, like chokeberries, lingonberries, and black currants. Berries are rich in polyphenols, ellagic acid or anthocyanins.
Here is how berries promote heart health:
- Lower blood pressure: Polyphenols found in berries have the ability to increase the nitric oxide levels in the body. Nitric oxide (NO) is responsible for relaxation of blood vessels (e.g. vasodilation), which helps lower the systolic blood pressure.
- Increase HDL cholesterol: Nutrients in berries help increase the HDL (“good”) cholesterol, which is another cardiovascular disease protective factor.
- Decrease LDL cholesterol oxidation: Polyphenols and vitamin C found in berries lower LDL cholesterol oxidation, which helps prevent atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.
For the best cardiovascular outcome, you should eat about 1 cup (100 grams) of berries a day.
Cauliflower is the cruciferous plant of the Brassicaceae family. It is rich in nutrients with strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties.
One cup (100 grams) of cauliflower provides 303 mg of potassium (9% of RDI), 46.4 mg of vitamin C (77% of RDI) and 16.0 mcg of vitamin E (20% of RDI). It is also rich in folate (57.0 mcg or 14% of RDI) and omega-3 fatty acids (37.0 mg) (71). An analysis published in August 2013 showed that including cruciferous vegetables to the diet can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (72).
Here is how cauliflower may help in the prevention of heart diseases:
- Lowers LDL cholesterol levels: Studies have found that raw cauliflower can bind with the bile acids and decrease LDL cholesterol levels (73, 74).
- Lowers homocysteine levels: Another study showed that folic acid in cauliflowers may significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases as it lowers blood homocysteine levels.
- Lowers blood pressure: Potassium in cauliflower may help lower your blood pressure, which is an important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.
- You should follow the Canadian health association recommendation and eat one dark green vegetable and one orange vegetable a day and add cauliflower to your regular weekly diet. Keep in mind that cauliflower contains Vitamin K which can make the blood much thinner than it is supposed to.
However, you should keep in mind that cauliflower is quite rich in vitamin K, which may interfere with blood thinning medication. If you are on such medication ask your doctor for permission prior adding cauliflower to your diet.
The bottom line: Cauliflower is a strong source of anti-inflammatory and antioxidative nutrients and is a healthy addition to your CVD prevention diet.
18. Red wine
French is the world number one red wine drinkers and despite a relatively high dietary intake of saturated fats, they have quite a low incidence of cardiovascular diseases in France. Red wine is a rich source of nutrients and of resveratrol in particular, which have a protective effect against cardiovascular diseases.
Red wine promotes heart health There is between 1.98 – 7.13 mg of resveratrol in one liter of red wine.
Here is how red wine may help you promote your heart health:
- Increases the HDL cholesterol and decreases the LDL cholesterol levels: Studies confirm that resveratrol and other antioxidants in red wine increase HDL cholesterol and lowers the LDL cholesterol levels.
- Hemostasis: Polyphenols in red wine reduce platelet aggregation, which has an antiatherosclerotic effect in the arteries.
- Widening of blood vessels: Polyphenols in red wine also increase the availability of NO in the blood vessels, which widens blood vessels (e.g. vasodilation). This has a positive impact on blood pressure (e.g. management of hypertension), which is another important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.
- While all this is good news, you should be careful and drink red wine in moderation (e.g. one or two glasses of red wine a day is fine but not more).
The bottom line: Red wine is a potent source of resveratrol, which has some positive effects on cholesterol levels, hemostasis, and vasodilation.
Essential nutrients for prevention of cardiovascular diseases
There are lots of nutrients, which may lower the risk of cardiovascular events. These are the most important ones:
Sodium (and salt)
It is a good idea to go on a low-sodium diet if you want to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases. As the majority of sodium we consume comes from dietary salt (sodium chloride), restricting its intake is the best way to lower your sodium blood levels.
Reduction of daily salt intake from 9 – 12 grams (an average daily intake of salt) to 5 – 6 grams (WHO recommended maximum daily intake of sodium) is supposed to have a positive impact on the incidence of cardiovascular diseases and stroke (81).
A sufficient daily intake of vitamin D is essential for heart health (80).
Recommended daily intake (allowance) of vitamin D for an average adult person is 15 mcg (600 IU). The best sources of vitamin D include fish oil, oily fish and dairy products (fortified milk).
Coenzyme Q10 is a popular supplement. Studies confirmed that daily intake of 60 to 200 mg of CoQ10 may improve endothelial function, ejection fraction and reduce blood pressure in the long-term management of primary hypertension.
The best dietary sources of magnesium are leafy greens (spinach), nuts, avocados, soybeans, and chocolate. The recommended daily intake is 320 mg a day (for women) and 420 mg a day (for men).
Foods high in magnesium
Studies show that magnesium supplementation may decrease mortality in patients with heart failure, improve endothelial function and inhibit thrombosis in patients with coronary artery disease (80).
However, the results of studies are mixed and there are currently no final recommendations in this respect.
Increased homocysteine levels were associated with a higher risk of myocardial infarction (MI).
Vitamins B12, B6 and folic acid are responsible for homocysteine metabolism regulation.
Recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of these vitamins is as follows:
- Vitamin B12: 1.8 mcg (82)
- Vitamin B6: 1.3 mg (83)
- Folic acid (folate): 400 mcg (84)
- Some of the best sources of these vitamins include leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale, lettuce), beans (chickpeas, kidney beans), citrus fruits (oranges), beef, chicken, fish, egg yolk and dairy products.
Omega-3 fatty acids
There are three important omega-3 fatty acids: ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which is plant-derived, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which are fish-oil derived. ALA is found in nuts, beans, green leafy vegetables, walnuts and vegetable oils (mainly flaxseed or canola oil), while EPA and DHA are found in oily fish (salmon, mackerel or tuna).
Studies confirm that in people with high risk of cardiovascular events, omega-3 fatty acids markedly lower coronary heart disease mortality. Omega-3 fatty acids also decrease arrhythmias, lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation and platelet aggregation.
Phytosterols are structural molecules of plant cellular membranes. Studies show that they may lower the LDL cholesterol in the blood is used in optimal dose (1.5 – 2.5 grams a day).
The best-known phytosterols are campesterol, stigmasterol or sitosterol.
As these plant sterols have a similar structure to cholesterol, they may inhibit cholesterol absorption, which translates into the reduction of LDL cholesterol level (80).
However, you need to be careful as there are some concerns that dietary supplementation of sterols may lead to a slight increase of atherosclerosis, which is an important risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (85).
The bottom line: Sodium, vitamin D, Coenzyme Q10, magnesium, homocysteine reducing agents (vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and folate) omega-3 fatty acids and phytosterols seem to play a major role in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
What is the best diet for the prevention of cardiovascular disease
Studies confirm that some foods may be especially useful in the prevention of cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases.
Here is a brief overview of recommended heart-friendly dietary patterns.
The main foods you should eat on the Mediterranean diet include seasonal fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes nuts and olive oil.
- Red meat is not allowed and you should eat fish, chicken or eggs instead.
- Experts also recommend drinking small quantities of wine with meals.
- Moderate consumption of low-fat dairy products is also allowed.
The Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiovascular mortality.
Persons at high cardiovascular risk may benefit from a Mediterranean diet with added extra-virgin olive oil or nuts. Studies show that nut and extra-virgin olive oil supplementation lowers the risk of major cardiovascular diseases.
Experts recommend low-fat diets in cardiovascular prevention. There are many types of fats, some are healthy and some not.
When on a low-fat diet you should eat between 7 – 10% of SFA (saturated fatty acids), less than 1% of TFA (trans fatty acids) and MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids) and PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as omega-3 fatty acids) should cover your remaining calorie intake from fats. Also, your daily cholesterol intake should be lower than 300 mg (88).
Normally about 25 – 35% of your daily calorie intake is represented by fats. On a low-fat diet, you should aim to decrease this amount to as low as 10 – 15%. However, as low-fat diets are generally associated with carbohydrate intake increase, you should watch what type of sugar you actually eat.
A low-carbohydrate diet means that your daily carbohydrate consumption is between 30 – 130 g. Studies show that this diet may reduce triglycerides (TG) and increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol. On the other hand, randomized controlled trials did not confirm any significant reduction of LDL cholesterol. Yet low-carbohydrate diet is still helpful in the prevention of cardiovascular events as it improves the ratio between HDL-C and LDL-C.
Foods to eat while on the DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) diet include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, chicken, fish or nuts. Low-fat dairy products are also allowed but meat, sweets or sodas are restricted.
It has been proved that the DASH diet may reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with both hypertension (HTN) or normotension.
The bottom line: The best heart health-promoting diets include the Mediterranian diet, low-carb diets, low-fat diets and the DASH diets
Eating good food is an essential part of cardiovascular prevention.
Here are some delicious recipes you may want to try:
1. Steamed broccoli with potatoes and carrots
This dish takes about 50 minutes to cook.
Ingredients (4 portions):
- 1 broccoli
- 3 carrots
- 1 onion
- 2 larger potatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the best results you a steamer pot is required.
- Clean all vegetables. Split the broccoli florets, slice the carrots, onions and potatoes.
- Boil water in your steamer pot.
- Add potatoes to your steamer basket and steam for about 10 minutes.
- Then add broccoli florets and steam for additional 5 minutes before adding carrots.
- Steam slowly for about 20 – 30 minutes.
- Switch off the cooker, remove the ingredients from the steamer pot, add some olive oil and spices and serve.
2. Salmon: an easy-to-make recipe
Salmon is not just delicious but it is also full of nutrients essential for your heart health. Here is an easy recipe to try. It takes about 10 minutes to prepare this meal.
- 1 salmon fillet
- 1 lemon
- Cut the salmon fillet to make several portions. Squeeze the lemon juice over the fillet and put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
- Pour some olive oil on a titanium (Teflon) frying pan and fry for 3 to 4 minutes on each side (depending on the height of the fillet).
- Serve with steamed vegetables (carrots, broccoli) and boiled potatoes.
Things to remember
Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of mortality worldwide. In addition to regular medical checkups, you may also want to change your dietary habits and eat some heart-friendly foods to ensure that your heart remains in good shape for as long as possible.
Foods for cardiovascular prevention
- Eat plenty of fish, whole grains, leafy greens and fruits and make sure you limit your daily salt intake to 5 – 6 grams.
- Also, you should not consume more than 300 mg of cholesterol a day.
- Drinking 1 – 2 cups of a quality green tea a day is also helpful.
- And have your blood pressure measured regularly by your physician.