Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Heart friendly Foods

Posted On : August 12,2013

A healthy heart means a healthy body and it is a result of a healthy lifestyle.

In fact a plethora of health-friendly choices prevent your heart from diseases.

One of the important decisions is to have the right food.

With increased number of deaths due to cardiovascular diseases, HealthyDunia.com speaks with Mumbai-based Nutritionist Supriya Nair and Faisal Nafees, Director Food & Beverage at The Royal Plaza Hotel to find out some foods which enhances your heart health.

Find out the top 21 super foods for an optimum cardiovascular health:

1. Oats
Known as the world’s healthiest food, oats contain magnesium, potassium, folate, soluble fiber and omega 3 fatty acids. This fiber-rich super food can lower levels of LDL (or bad) cholesterol and help keep arteries clear. Start your day with a steaming bowl of oats mixed with raisins and honey.

To make it more delicious you can add pieces of banana and strawberries or any other fruit of your choice.

2. Salmon
Enriched with Omega-3 fatty acids which has the potential to reduce blood pressure, salmon keeps you away from heart attacks. An intake of two salmon servings each week can reduce your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 17 per cent and your risk of having a heart attack by 27 percent. Salmon tastes great when grilled with some lemon and spices.


3. Tomatoes
They are loaded with potassium besides lutein, lycopene, beta & alpha carotene. Potassium plays an important role in treating high blodd pressure, insuling resistance, chronic fatigue syndrome, weakness, bloating and intestinal disorders.  According to Dr. John Cook Bennett of the Institute of Aberdeen, the yellow gel surrounding tomato seeds could thwart clotting so as to prevent strokes and heart disease.

Other available nutrients like niacin and folate reduces heart problem to a great extent. Try adding a slice of tomato to your sandwich, a bowl of fresh tomato soup or in the form of a salad.

4. Broccoli

The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry study suggests broccoli may trigger production of proteins which protect against heart damage. Broccoli has a protein called thioredoxin, that protects you against cell damage in the heart.

Also containing sulforaphane, which triggers this process, broccolis are best when eaten half boiled. Opt for including in soups or salads or simply boiled for a healthy heart.

5. Walnuts
Eating nuts help your heart. Enriched with Omega-3 fatty acids mono & poly unsaturated fats, walnuts reduces your risk of developing blood clots that cause a fatal heart attack. They also improve the health of the lining of your arteries. Add walnuts to a salad and yoghurt, said Supriya.


6. Spinach
Bright, vibrant colored leaves – spinach contains lutein, folate, potassium and fibre, which gives your heart a boost. According to the Physicians’ Health Study who examined more than 15,000 men without heart disease for a period of 12 years, those who ate at least two-and-a-half servings of vegetables each day cut their risk of heart disease by about 25 per cent, compared with those who didn’t eat the veggies. Each additional serving reduced risk by another 17 per cent.


7. Berries
Any kind of berry – be it blueberry, raspberry, strawberry – is loaded with anti-inflammatories, which reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of East Anglia in the UK have studied 93,600 women – between the age group of 25 to 42. After studying their diet for 18 years, it was found that women who consumed the most blueberries and strawberries had a 32 per cent reduced risk of heart attack as compared to those who included berries in their diets for just once a month.

8. Kidney Beans

“High magnesium content and fiber in kidney beans is responsible for lowering bad cholesterol levels,” said Faisal Nafees. High magnesium level found in kidney beans helps the body fight diseases associated with the risk of stroke, heart attack, and peripheral vascular disease. It also helps in having a healthy cardiovascular system.


9. Flaxseed
Loaded with fiber and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, sprinkling a few flaxseeds can boost your heart health. Several studies have suggested that diets rich in flaxseed omega-3s help prevent hardening of the arteries and keep plaque from being deposited in the arteries partly by keeping white blood cells from sticking to the blood vessels’ inner linings. Throw some of these in a bowl of oatmeal or whole-grain cereal for the ultimate heart-healthy breakfast.


10. Yoghurt
A recent study, which involved more than 5000 university graduates, has found that diary intake reduces risks of blood pressure. “We observed a 50 per cent reduction in the risk of developing high blood pressure among people eating 2-3 servings of low-fat dairy a day (or more), compared with those without any intake,” said Alvaro Alonso, a researcher in the department of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. Though most of the low-fat dairy consumed by the study subjects was as milk, Alvaro believes low-fat yogurt would likely have the same effect.


11. Dark chocolate
If you have thought chocolates can add calories think again – because dark chocolates boost your heart health, explains experts. A recent study found that daily chocolate consumption could reduce nonfatal heart attacks and stroke in people at high risk for these problems.
However, the findings applied only to dark chocolate, which meant chocolate made up of at least 60-70 per cent cocoa. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids called polyphenols, which may help blood pressure, clotting, and inflammation.

12. Soy

Devoid of unhealthy fats and cholesterol, soy products like tofu and soy milk, is good for your heart. With high levels of polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, soy has the potential to reduce blood pressure in people who eat a diet high in refined carbohydrates. It has also been found that soy protein can decrease bad cholesterol or LDL.


13. Red wine

Drinking a small quantity of red wine is beneficial for the heart. Experts said that polyphenol found in red wine – called resveratrol – provides that beverage an added benefit. However an increased quantity can ruin your health, cautions specialists.


14. Green tea
Widely consumed across the globe, green tea is the more popular in Asia than the West. Tea consumption is also associated with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke. A research by Harvard suggests that people who drink at least one cup of tea daily have a 44 per cent lower risk of heart attack. Yet some other findings found that avid tea drinkers have lower rates of death, including death from heart disease. Experts say antioxidants known as catechins may be responsible.

15. Apple
This super fruit contains pectin which helps to block absorption of cholesterol and fiber, which sweeps out cholesterol. Its peels have antioxidants called polyphenols which guard cholesterols from free-radical assaults. It is rightly said that an apple a day keeps the doctor away – a study found 40 per cent decrease in LDL cholesterol.



16. Orange

Rich in pectin, this citrus fruit has flavaonoid, which lowers blood pressure and reduces artery inflammation. Oranges contains hesperidin, a plant chemical that improves blood flow to the heart. A rich source of vitamin C, orange protects against stokes.


17. Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is the preferred of the health conscious people. Considered better than your regular vegetable oils, olive oil contains higher levels of good fat and antioxidants which unclogs your arteries – thus enhancing the health of your heart. Sprinkle on your salads to reap best health benefits.

18. Raisins

According to a research raisins prevent inflammations and gum diseases. It has been found that people with gum diseases are prone to heart problems. Hence snacking on raisins can offer a good heart health and also solve your dental problems.


19. Pomegranates

Enriched with polyphenols,  anthocyanins and tannins – pomegranates are best to reduce plague in arteries and lowering of blood pressure. A recent study found that pomegranate juice has the highest antioxidant capacity as compared to other berry juices.


20. Banana
Bananas are rich in potassium which helps to maintain normal heart function and the balance of sodium and water in the body. Besides, potassium facilitates the kidneys to excrete excess sodium thereby contributing to healthy blood pressure. It is said that this mineral is especially important for people taking diuretics for heart disease, which combat sodium and water retention but also strip potassium from the body in the process.

21. Popcorns

Ever thought popcorns beneficial for your heart? Yes popcorns contain polyphenols - antioxidants which improves heart health. Popcorn, a whole grain, tends to make people leaner and reduce risk of heart disease. So the next time you are watching a movie, enjoy your tub of popcorn with an open heart!