Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in America, accounting for about every one in four deaths each year in the U.S. Statistics might scare some of us into changing our habits, but others of us aren’t quite sure how to maintain a healthy heart and prevent cardiovascular disorders.
Cardiovascular disease results when your arteries become clogged and plaque builds up, and atherosclerosis is the progressive clogging of the arteries. But before you get discouraged because of past unhealthy habits, it’s important to know that these clogs and build-ups aren’t irreversible damage. What you eat plays a huge role in keeping your arteries clear and functioning well.
It’s never too late to start unclogging your arteries, especially when the remedy involves delicious foods that you already know and love!
Chia seeds contain fiber and alpha-linolenic acid, which helps to regulate blood pressure, lower triglycerides, and balance the good and bad cholesterol. They’re versatile and can be sprinkled on everything from salads to soups and main course dishes.
Pomegranate and pomegranate juice are also heart-healthy foods that belong in your regular diet. Pomegranates are high in antioxidants and a great-tasting fruit that often gets overlooked in the grocery store.
Kimchi is a type of Korean dish that features fermented cabbage, peppers, and often fish as well. This healthy food contains beneficial bacteria that help destroy toxins in the body and promote overall wellness.
Cold-water fish, including salmon, sardines, mackerel, and tuna contain omega-3 fatty acids and also support the cardiovascular system. Try to make fish a part of your diet at least 2-3 times per week for a healthy heart.
Avocados contain healthy fats and it’s easy to use avocado slices in place of unhealthy old favorites like mayonnaise and butter. Researchers in Mexico found that people who ate an avocado every day for a week reduced their blood cholesterol levels by an average of 17 percent.
Cinnamon is great for artery de-clogging, because studies show that it helps reduce cholesterol and prevents plaque build-up. Cinnamon is great to sprinkle on tea or on top of healthy desserts, like yogurt with fruit.
Turmeric is one of the most powerful and healthiest spices out there, so it should come as no surprise that it’s beneficial for heart health too. The main ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which is a natural antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. In one study in France, researchers fed a group of mice a diet supplemented with curcumin, and after 16 weeks, mice on the curcumin-based diet had a 26 percent reduction in fatty deposits in their arteries.
Lemon is also good for overall heart health, and it’s so easy to incorporate lemon into your diet. Squeeze some lemon juice on your avocado to keep it from “going brown” right away or add a little to your water or tea throughout the day for flavorful hydration.
Tomatoes contain high amounts of lycopene, which also supports heart health. Slice tomatoes to add to sandwiches, stews, salads, and tacos for a nutritious and colorful addition.