Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Every 40 seconds an American will have a heart attack.
The disease is often linked to a poor diet, lack of exercise and smoking but there are other factors at play such as stress and genetics.
Most heart attacks are the result of coronary artery disease, a condition where your coronary arteries are clogged with fatty, calcified plaques, according to WebMD.
But with some small changes in your diet, you can minimize these risks significantly.
Here are 13 foods that are good for the heart which you should include in your diet on a regular basis to keep your body fighting fit.
One to two servings of fish a week reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 36 percent, according to a U.S. study.
Fish can be very effective in reducing the risk of heart disease, and farmed salmon contains slightly more omega-3s, much more omega-6 and three times the amount of saturated fat than wild salmon. However, wild salmon is higher in minerals, including potassium, zinc and iron.
Coffee is not only an essential and delicious daily drink for most Americans, it’s also reported to have a lot of health benefits.
But did you know that drinking between three and five cups of coffee per day can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease?
Among the 230,000 test subjects of a study, published in JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology, the risk of atrial fibrillation, or irregular heartbeat, was significantly less in those who drank coffee regularly than for those who didn’t drink coffee as often.
Nuts have long been known to contain many healthy fats. These include omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats, which are good for your heart. Nuts are not only good for lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of heart disease, but also help to counteract diabetes and some cancers.
Good varieties of unsalted walnuts and almonds are excellent options and half a handful a day is enough.
4. Sharon fruit
Persimmons aka Sharon Fruit, is one of the oldest species of cultivated fruit trees and was introduced to America and the south of Europe in the 1800s.
They are packed with vitamins such as Vitamin A and Vitamin C and are also said to lower blood pressure. The tannic acid and gallic acid, both found in persimmons, are effective at lowering high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease, according to a study reported in Healthline Media.
Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which is the spice’s main ingredient. The anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin is beneficial in protecting your body against heart disease.
6. Green tea
Drinking green tea regularly helps to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. A study from the University of Tokyo surveyed 40,000 adults and those who drank a lot of green tea (5 or more cups a day) were less likely to die of cardiovascular disease.
Another study of 14,001 Japanese people aged between 65-84 found that those who drank green tea regularly were 76% less likely to die of cardiovascular disease during the 6-year study period.
Research has shown that eating watermelons can reduce the risk of heart problems. In a 2014 study, adults who were overweight with high blood pressure were told to eat watermelon every day and as a result, their blood pressure dropped sharply.
In addition, there are high levels of citrulline in watermelon which is a nonessential amino acid and antioxidant that is converted to another amino acid called arginine by special enzymes . Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which improves blood flow and could help treat high blood pressure, angina and other cardiovascular problems, according to Livestrong.com.
Cinnamon is not only delicious and helps enhance the flavors of pastries and drinks – it can also be an effective weapon in the fight against heart disease.
Researchers have found that cinnamon is rich in polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant that is said to greatly reduce the risk of dying prematurely.
Every third stomach cancer, every third coronary artery disease and every ten strokes is because we eat too little fruit and vegetables, according to the World Health Organization.
Pomegranate is full of flavonoids, which have a protective effect on your heart.
Research has also shown that pomegranate can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, a disease of the arteries characterized by the deposition of plaques of fatty material on their inner walls, and lower blood pressure, according to Sund.nu.
10. Olive oil
Olive oil has numerous health benefits as it’s rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, has anti-inflammatory properties, may help reduce your risk of a stroke and helps to protect you against heart disease.
In a study at the University of Illinois at Chicago, rats with heart failure were supplemented with olive oil, which showed a clear improvement in how the heart pumped blood.
Most people know that broccoli is healthy, but were you aware that this delicious vegetable can also help your heart?
As well as reducing cholesterol broccoli also helps to keep blood vessels strong and is an anti-inflammatory due to its sulforaphane content.
Avocado has shown several positive effects against disease due to its low level of saturated fats and high levels of unsaturated fat. But the fats found in avocados help keep your heart healthy.
In addition, avocados contain antioxidants such as carotenoids and phenols that can help prevent inflammation while improving blood circulation.
Green asparagus is a real Hercules in the fight against the dangerous low-density lipoproteins, or LDL, which too much of can result in clogged arteries.
Together we can try to help more people eat healthier and help protect their hearts by sharing this list.