According to experts like Best Internal Medicine Specialist in Islamabad food plays a major role in heart heath. Food can influence the blood pressure, serum cholesterol, triglycerides and inflammatory markers in the body, all of which impact the heart. For improved heart health, therefore, one should invest in the right foods. Read on to know which foods to eat for better health of the heart:
The antioxidants, minerals and vitamins are unparalleled in green vegetables like spinach, kale and collard greens. They play a protective role in arterial health through the increased amount of vitamin K they contain, and the dietary nitrates, which promote vasodilation. The latter reduced blood pressure, decreases stiffness of the arteries and improves the function of the arterial lining.
One study showed 16 percent lower incidence of heart disease in people who consumed more fresh greens. In another study, the risk of coronary artery disease was lower in women taking in a high amount of leafy greens.
Berries have a high ratio of polyphenols, which lower the risk of heart disease. In addition, they are high in vitamin A and vitamin C, which are potent antioxidants, as well as, fiber, folate and iron.
Berries also have anthocyanins, which are natural anti-inflammatory agents, reversing the oxidative damage in the vessels and coronary arteries. Therefore, berries play a protective role in heart disease. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries should be added to the daily diet for improvement. Even drinking a beverage made from the berries is helpful for people with metabolic syndrome.
The red pigment in tomatoes—lycopene—is a powerful antioxidant, helping in both inflammation and damage to the arteries. In fact, lower levels of lycopene are linked to increased risk of both stroke and heart disease.
A systemic review of 25 studies showed how high intake of lycopene was protective in case of ischemic heart disease and stroke. Lycopene also removes the bad cholesterol from the blood vessels, and increases the serum levels of HDL—the good cholesterol.
Scientists believe that dark chocolate in moderate amounts slows the buildup of plaque inside the arteries, thereby mitigating the risk of stroke and heart disease. Two mechanisms implicated in atherosclerosis: white blood cell adhesion and stiffening of the arterial walls are prevented through the intake of dark chocolate. Even adding more flavanol content in the chocolate doesn’t diminish these protective effects.
One large study showed a 57 percent decreased risk of coronary artery disease in people who consumed dark chocolate at least five times per week, in comparison to the non-consumers.
The nutrient-rich almonds boast a long list of heart-healthy mineral and vitamins. Almonds are rich in monounsaturated fats, and fiber which improve the cholesterol levels, and decrease the risk of heart disease.
Olive oil is packed in antioxidants, which are needed to battle the many oxidative stressors in the body, as well as, the pro-inflammatory mediators. The benefit in heart health from olive oil is due to these antioxidants, and the monounsaturated fatty acids it provides, thereby providing ‘good’ cholesterol to the body.
Garlic has potent anti-inflammatory properties due to the compound called allicin, which has multiple therapeutic effects. Garlic extract lowers blood pressure, fights bad cholesterol, and inhibits platelet buildup, thereby reducing the risk of prothrombotic diseases like stroke and heart attack. The benefits of allicin are maximal when taken raw; if using in cooking, then crush it and allow it to sit for a few minutes before adding it to the food.
If you need more information about what to eat for a healthier heart, reach out to Internal Medicine Specialist.