New evidence shows us that the link between diet and heart disease grows stronger.
The food on your plate can influence just about every aspect of heart health, from blood pressure and inflammation to cholesterol levels and triglycerides.
Remember to include these heart-healthy foods as part of a nutritious, well-balanced diet to help keep your heart in good shape and minimize your risk of heart disease.
1. Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables are high in vitamin K and nitrates, which can help reduce blood pressure and improve arterial function. Studies show that a higher intake of leafy greens is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
2. Whole Grains
Studies show that eating whole grains is associated with lower cholesterol and systolic blood pressure, as well as a lower risk of heart disease.
Berries are rich in antioxidants. Studies show that eating them can reduce multiple risk factors for heart disease.
Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats and potassium. They may help lower your cholesterol, blood pressure and risk of metabolic syndrome.
5. Fatty Fish and Fish Oil
Fatty fish and fish oil are both high in omega-3 fatty acids and may help reduce heart disease risk factors, including blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol.
Studies suggest that walnuts can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure and may be associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
Beans are high in resistant starch and have been shown to reduce levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, lower blood pressure and decrease inflammation.
8. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants like flavonoids. It has been associated with a lower risk of developing calcified plaque in the arteries and coronary heart disease.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene and have been associated with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke, as well as an increase in “good” HDL cholesterol.
Almonds are high in fiber and monounsaturated fats, and have been linked to reductions in cholesterol and belly fat.
Human and animal studies have found that eating seeds may improve several heart disease risk factors, including inflammation, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.
Garlic and its components have been shown to help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. They may also help inhibit blood clot formation.
13. Olive Oil
Olive oil is high in antioxidants and monounsaturated fats. It has been associated with lower blood pressure and heart disease risk.
Edamame contains soy isoflavones, which have been shown to help decrease cholesterol levels. Edamame also contains fiber and antioxidants, which can also benefit heart health.
15. Green Tea
Green tea is high in polyphenols and catechins. It has been associated with lower cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure.