Heart disease is one of the most common causes of death around the world. It is responsible for almost one third of global deaths. While there are genetic factors that affect heart health, the primary cause of heart disease is a bad diet. Certain foods have the ability to influence blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and inflammation, all elements that are risk factors for heart disease:
1. Leafy Green Veggies
Dark, leafy green veggies, such as spinach, collard greens, and kale are filled to the brim with valuable vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. Specifically, these vegetables are some of the best sources of vitamin K, an essential vitamin for protecting the arteries and promoting proper blood clotting.
Vegetables like spinach are also filled with dietary nitrate, which play a role in reducing blood pressure and decreasing arterial stiffness.
2. Whole Grains
Whole grains are grains that possess all three nutrient rich parts of the grain: bran, germ, and endosperm. Unlike refined and processed grains, whole grains are high in dietary fiber, which help to reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol, which ultimately decreases your risk of heart disease. Some good source of whole grains are brown rice, whole wheat, buckwheat, oats, and quinoa.
3. Fatty Fish and Fish Oil
Fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, etc. are some of the best foods you can eat for good heart health. This is mostly due to them being loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids can reduce total cholesterol levels, lower blood triglycerides, and systolic blood pressure.
If you do not eat much fish, you can always make sure you’re getting enough omega-3 fatty acids by including fish oil in your diet. Studies have shown that fish oil supplements can reduce blood triglycerides, decrease blood pressure, and improve arterial functionality.