Eight Healthy Foods for a Healthy Heart

Between a plethora of ads on television, a lack of time in which to prepare meals, and a deficit of reliable food labelling, keeping what foods are actually heart healthy, and which are not, can be a very difficult task.

A good place to start when trying to be heart-healthy is to try and keep your cholesterol levels at a manageable level. But what is cholesterol? Well, it turns out there are two kinds of cholesterol, one good (HDL) and one bad (LDL). To make a long story short, you’ll want to avoid foods high with LDL and try to gobble down the ones which include HDL. Now, I realise that would take some research. Luckily, I’ve done it for you: here is a list of eight foods that should be a part of your heart healthy diet!

 They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and oatmeal may just be the most important breakfast food around. A bowl of oats is not only full of potassium, folate, and omega-3, but it also lowers LDL levels, ensuring your arteries steer clear of any possible blockage.

What’s great about oatmeal is that it’s also versatile. Have a bowl by itself, with some fruit mixed in, or with some yoghurt as a snack. The only limit is your imagination.

 Salmon is quite simply loaded with omega-3 acids, and it can significantly help in reducing blood pressure, thus keeping nasty clots away. Having salmon twice a week could even reduce your chance of dying from a heart attack by a third. If salmon isn’t your thing, other oily fish like tuna or mackerel have similar effects on your heart health.

 What’s great about salmon is that because it’s quite a light fish, you can mix it in with salads, serve it with a side of steamed veggies, and even mix it in with pasta. Much like oatmeal, it’s great for your heart and it’s versatile.

 Green Tea
 Green tea is a great drink for breakfast, after dinner, and any time in between. It has been shown to lower LDL levels, especially when combined with an already healthy diet. It’s also packed with antioxidants. Not only that, but some studies have shown it helps accelerate the burning of calories.

You don’t have to be be picky here: whatever berry is your favourite, it’s good for you. That’s because berries are full of anti-inflammatories, which reduce the risk of heart disease. You can have berries as a snack throughout your day, or mix them in with your heart-healthy oatmeal.

 “Beans, beans they’re good for your heart. Beans, beans they make you fart.”

 The children’s rhyme is surprisingly accurate. Black beans and kidney beans are loaded with omega-3 acids and fibre. Gassy after-effects aside, they’re a food you can almost never have too much of in your quest for a healthy heart.

 Oil? Isn’t oil full of fat?

 Why yes, it is. But olive oil is loaded with those heart-healthy fats I mentioned before, and it does a great job of lowering your LDL levels as well. So if you can, make sure olive oil is your oil of choice when you cook or prepare a salad dressing.

 Sunflower, almond, and mustardseed oils are also also all heart-healthy options.

 Avocado is a tasty little condiment to add to your sandwiches, salads, or pasta dishes. They’re fantastic for heart health, as they both raise HDL and lower LDL levels in your body. Two birds, one stone-shaped fruit.

 If you can find it in your local store, avocado oil is another healthy option for cooking up some food.

 Dark Chocolate
 Let’s finish up with something more indulgent, shall we? Dark chocolate is great for your heart health (in controlled portions, of course). It contains almost eight times as many antioxidants as the aforementioned berries, and a small bar every day can lower blood pressure flush out up to 10% of your LDLs. That, and the endorphins it triggers will instantly improve your mood. There’s no better afternoon snack for improving your heart health.

Image courtesy of zirconicusso /

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1 Comment

  1. Chris
    February 6, 2014 at 10:15 am — Reply

    If avocados were a bit cheaper I would eat them all day every day.
    Bit skeptical about dark chocolate, like to believe it’s healthy but still got a great deal of sugar.

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