Diet is an essential part of any heart-healthy lifestyle, as we should well know. Aside from avoiding things like unsaturated fats and too much salt, however, what you eat is just as important. However, aside from having an idea of what foods are heart healthy, you should get to know exactly how they help with your heart health, too. Here, we’re going to look a little deeper at how certain foods keep your heart healthy.
Getting your vitamins and minerals
First of all, it’s vital to understand the importance of several vitamins and minerals that improve your heart’s function. Vitamin D, magnesium, and potassium are just some of the nutrients you should aim to get more of in your diet, even if through supplements.
Reducing the “bad” cholesterol
There are, roughly speaking, two types of cholesterol. With your heart health in mind, we need to consider LDL cholesterol. There are a range of foods that can do this, but foods that are higher in fiber, such as whole grains, are some of the most effective. As such, you should look at replacing starchy snacks with things like oatmeal cookies that use the whole grain instead of refining it.
Decreasing your blood pressure
High blood pressure can be dangerous for a variety of reasons. Blood vessels can get damaged by high blood pressure, narrowing or rupturing. High blood pressure also makes you much more likely to experience clots that can cause heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. Aside from whole grains and fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, as is found in salmon and other fatty fish, can help decrease blood pressure, improving arterial function and reducing your risk of experiencing clots.
Helping your blood flow
Aside from generally treating your blood pressure, there are also ways to help your blood flow by reducing the risk of clotting in the blood itself. There are plenty of foods that can act as a natural blood thinner, including ginger, celery, and green teas. Helping your blood flow smoothly through your body also improves the effectiveness of any vitamins and minerals in your diet by making sure that they get to the parts of the body that they’re supposed to.
The role of antioxidants
Antioxidants, which can be found in a variety of foods, including green tea and berries, have been linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Antioxidants play a vital role all around the body by neutralizing the free radicals that can cause oxidative damage, as well as inflammation. Both of these issues are known to directly raise the risk of heart disease. Dark chocolate is a reliable source of a specific type of antioxidants called flavonoids, which have specific heart health benefits, too.
If you’re trying to build a heart healthy diet, then getting more of any of the foods named above is going to be a great step. However, you can maximize your benefits by making sure you get a mix of foods that each have unique benefits. Hopefully, this post has made it easier to identify them.