Eating a diet high in foods that are good for your heart means eating foods that contain nutrients that boost heart health. Foods high in Omega3 fatty acids, magnesium, vitamin D, folic acid, CoQ10 and potassium are heart healthy nutrients, so finding foods high in these can help you keep your heart safe and healthy. Each of these is also important for other body functions, so even if you don’t have a heart problem, they’ll still provide a great deal of benefit.
Omega3 fatty acids are important, but so is balancing them with Omega6 fatty acids.
The American diet is far too laden with Omega6 fatty acid. The ideal ratio is one part Omega3 to four parts Omega6. The average American diet is one part Omega3 to twelve to twenty-five parts Omega6. Not only does that make for bad heart health, studies show that it also can cause other distress. One study shows that violence was cut by far more than half in a prison when the diet included more Omega3. The body doesn’t produce this essential fatty acid, so it’s important to get it in your diet. Fatty fish such as salmon, herring or flaxseeds and other seeds and nuts can provide this heart healthy nutrient.
The sunshine vitamin isn’t always available.
Vitamin D deficiency can make you at risk for heart disease. It helps regulate your blood pressure and does many other things for the body. While you can get adequate vitamin D from exposure to the sun and giving the body the elements it requires to create it, sunny days may be few and far between in the winter and even when they occur, you don’t necessarily want to expose as much of your body as necessary to soak up the sun. Even in warm weather, too often people use sunblock to keep the rays out. Food high in vitamin D include egg yolks, beef liver, cheese and products fortified with vitamin D.
Magnesium and folic acid play a role in heart health.
Lack of magnesium can cause blood pressure to rise, besides causing muscle cramps (think coronary), mental disorders, osteoporosis, asthma and irregular heartbeat. Foods that contain magnesium include avocados, dark chocolate, raw spinach and soybeans. Folic acid consumed daily reduces the risk of both stroke and heart disease by as much as 20%. It also lowers homo-cysteine levels in the blood, which increase the risk of stroke and heart disease. Natural sources of folic acid are Brussels sprouts, asparagus, lentils and broccoli.
- CoQ10 helps your heart by reducing high cholesterol levels. Low levels of it are linked to heart failure, high blood pressure and even chronic fatigue syndrome. Organ meats, such as beef heart or liver are high in this substance.
- Adding fiber to your diet helps heart health. Oatmeal is a good source of fiber and can lower bad cholesterol levels.
- Colorful vegetables improve heart health. The more color on your plate the more you get a wide variety of nutrients. For instance, grapes and red wine both contain resveratrol, which is heart healthy.
- Besides eating healthy, regular exercise is also heart healthy.