SuperFoods That Keep Your Heart Ticking

Tags: Beans, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Citrus, Congestive Heart Failure, Coronary Artery Disease, Coronary Heart Disease, Homocysteine, Lycopene, Peanuts, Salmon, Spinach, Tea, Tomatoes

More than ever, we keep hearing that what we eat affects our health and longevity more than any exercise regimen ever can. The same goes for cardiovascular health. Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart doesn’t pump blood as well as it should. One way to prevent heart failure is to control conditions that cause it, like obesity, diabetes, coronary artery disease and high blood pressure.

Although all the SuperFoods work together to promote heart health, several SuperFoods specifically benefit the heart.

Nuts: Nuts are a superpower for the heart. A handful of nuts about five times a week can reduce your chances of having a heart attack by at least 15 percent and as much as 51 percent. One serving of nuts is one ounce. This is about 10 to 48 nuts depending on the size of the nut.

Beans: Beans can lower your blood pressure, cholesterol and your overall risk of coronary heart disease. Try to eat at least ½ cup each day.

Citrus: Eating an orange a day promotes cardiovascular health and reduces your risk of stroke. The vitamin C, folate, and pectin fiber contribute to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol while raising HDL (good) cholesterol. Oranges and other citrus fruits also lower blood concentrations of homocysteine, which can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke when raised.

Salmon and other cold water fish: Including cold water fish in your regular diet reduces your risk of coronary artery disease because the high levels of omega-3 fatty acids help to increase HDL (good) cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and stabilize your heartbeat.

Spinach: Spinach helps protect artery walls from damage because it’s rich in carotenoids. It’s also high in potassium and low in sodium so it regulates blood pressure. Spinach is also high in folate, which helps the body reduce high levels of homocysteine.

Tea: Drinking tea can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Tea drinkers have less coronary artery damage and cerebral artery damage. Try to drink one to three cups each day.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a wonderful source of lycopene. Studies have shown that lycopene plays a role in heart attack prevention. A suggested daily amount is about 22 milligrams. You can get this from a ½ cup of tomato purée, one cup of tomato juice or about 2/3 cup of tomato sauce. You get more lycopene from cooked tomato products than raw tomatoes.