One of the best ways you can improve heart health, and decrease your risk of heart disease is to reduce, if not eliminate, inflammation. Inflammation is the #1 cause of health issues, weight gain, and degenerative disease, such as heart disease. AND the SAD (Standard American Diet) is the #1 cause of inflammation.
About 1 in every 4 deaths each year are the result of heart disease, which is slightly higher than cancer. One in 4 men and women will develop heart disease each year which is only slightly higher than cancer, where 1 in 4 men and 1 in 3 women develop cancer each year. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. AND it is irreversible with the right foods, and lifestyle changes!
Contrary to popular belief, eating foods high in cholesterol is NOT the problem. Sugar, and high glucose and glycemic carbohydrates are the real culprits of heart disease. If you eat a balanced diet of lean protein, high nutrients and low carbohydrates (vegetables and some whole grains), and healthy fats, then you are well-on your way to eliminating and reducing your chance of developing heart disease. It is not as hard as it sounds, if you follow these three basic principles.
3 Basic steps to Reducing Inflammation, Heart Disease and other illness and Diseases
- Eat a whole-food, plant-based pesticide-free diet. Plant-based does not mean vegetarian, but it means eating more plants on your plate than animal products.
- Eat a diet rich in nutrients, high ant-inflammatory and low glycemic foods
- Eliminate refined carbohydrates, starchy foods and grains – overtime eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar can damage blood vessels and nerves that control your heart. Eventually this puts you in the path for blood sugar dysregulation, diabesity and obesity.
Top 10 Foods for Heart Health
Eating to nourish your heart and prevent, as well as reverse heart disease does not have to be difficult and expensive. There are many anti-inflammatory foods to include in your diet and fight inflammation to prevent and eliminate heart disease.
Several studies show these as the Top Foods (or categories of foods) for Heart Health:
1. Salmon is the number 1 food to fight inflammation, heart disease, and a whole host of other chronic diseases, so I will include a number benefits from eating this delicious fish:
- High in omega 3’s which decrease inflammation, reduce risk of cancer, improve cell function in the arteries, supports brain health
- High in quality protein and rich in healthy fats
- Contains most of the B vitamins known to support energy, DNA health, reduce inflammation, and nourishes the brain
- Includes potassium – lowers blood pressure
- High in selenium – major anti-oxidant that fight inflammation, protects bones, and supports auto-immune thyroid issues
- Rich in astaxanthin – reduces LDL and increases HDL, supports brain/nervous systems, good for skin health
- Supports brain health – reduces depression, anxiety, and slow-age-related memory
- Strengthens Bone Health – high in Vitamin D which helps the body use calcium; omega 3’s aids ones, especially canned salmon that contain the bones
2. Flaxseed or flax oil – omega 3’s, protein, fiber, #1 source of lignan’s known to support hormone related issues such as menopause, osteoporosis, breast cancer and more
3. Green leafy vegetables – high in anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals
4. Strawberries/ berries – anti-oxidants and polyphenols which cut inflammation; fiber
5. Avocados – rich in heart-health mono-saturated fat, as well as some omega 3’s; high in heart healthy and bone supporting vitamins: Vitamin K, C, E Folate, Potassium (contains more potassium than a banana), Vitamin E, Boron, Copper, and other B vitamins
6. Pomegranates – anti-oxidants that fight inflammation and more powerful than red wine and green tea; supports cancer, high blood pressure, arthritis and join pain, breast cancer, bone health and memory; lowers LDL oxidative damage
7. Olives/olive oil – healthy monounsaturated fat known to decrease LDL and increase HDL
8. Walnuts/nuts – nuts area good source of phyto-nutrients known for coronary heart damage prevention; high in heart healthy and bone supporting nutrients: Vitamin E, B Vitamins, magnesium, zinc, copper, potassium and arginine (known for heart health)
9. Legumes – high in minerals and soluble fiber without saturated fat; lowers cholesterol; low glycemic index, high potassium and magnesium known to lower blood sugar.
10. Dark chocolate – oh so delicious and mighty good for you. Dark chocolate is full of flavonoids associated with lower risk of heart disease. Highest of nearly all foods in anti-oxidants for lowering inflammation, and high in fiber, iron, magnesium copper, manganese, as well as potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium. However, the cocoa you choose is highly important, since the common store-bought box of chocolates or candy bars are processed at high heat and full of sugar and fat. To read more about the benefits of chocolate see:
To see some of my luscious chocolate recipes, go here: Chocolate Recipes
Impressive Health Benefits of Salmon (healthline.com)
Osteoporosis Super-Foods for Strong Bones (webmd.com)
The American Heart Association Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations | American Heart Association
Lowering LDL-Cholesterol Through Diet: Potential Role In The Statin Era – PubMed (nih.gov)
Health Benefits of Lignans (livestrong.com)
Dietary lignans: The Phytoestrogens With Amazing Health Benefits for Women and Men – Us Smart Publications (smart-publications.com)
Surprising Facts About Avocados And Osteoporosis – Save Our Bones
12 Proven Health Benefits of Avocado (healthline.com)
12 Health Benefits of Pomegranate (healthline.com)
Blood Sugar and Heart Health at DuckDuckGo
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