Heart disease statistics are extremely appalling and it might surprise many to know that more than 2500 Americans die from a heart disease each day. There are more than 250,000 people who die from a heart attack every year even before they can reach the hospital. Cholesterol is one of the leading conditions among many that ultimately lead to heart disease.
As in the case of many medical conditions, prevention is easier than a cure. So, if you know that you have a higher tendency towards heart disease or high cholesterol, make sure that you eat the right foods. Here are the four of the top foods that are extremely beneficial for the heart.
Oats contains an extremely high proportion of dietary fiber, selenium, manganese and magnesium. The relatively high proportion of soluble fiber beta-glucan helps in lowering LDL cholesterol. Other high fiber foods such as barley, prunes and psyllium seed husks are also known to reduce cholesterol levels and keep the heart healthy. The benefits of oatmeal in the context of a heart disease are so significant that in 1997 the FDA authorized this food as a functional food that can reduce the risk of heart disease. However, to qualify for this claim the oatmeal should contain at least 0.75 grams of beta glucan soluble fiber.
Another high fiber food that also contains lutein, potassium, and folate is spinach. The fiber that vegetables provide can reduce the risk of heart disease to a large extent. The Physicians’ Health Study, which examined fifteen thousand men for a period of 15 years, stated that those who ate two and a half servings of vegetables each day could reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 25 percent.
Salmon is another great food that can help in keeping blood pressure and cholesterol under control. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and carotenoid astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant. If you are not too fond of salmon, you can choose from other fish types like tuna, mackerel, herring and sardines to get your daily dose of omega 3 fatty acids for your heart and cholesterol.
If you have to use oil, let it be olive oil. Olive oil lowers bad cholesterol since it has monounsaturated fats. It also reduces the probability of heart disease. A seven countries study showed that white men in Crete had a higher tendency of high cholesterol, not many died from a heart disease. This was traced back to their habit of consuming a diet that was almost always made in olive oil.
Nuts and Berries
Nuts that are full of omega 3 fatty acids like walnuts, almonds and macadamia nuts are also rich in monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Intake of nuts also increases the amount of fiber in the diet, thereby helping in lowering cholesterol.
Berries like blueberries, raspberries and strawberries have anti-inflammatory properties and therefore reduce the risk of a heart disease in many ways.
These top four foods can help you maintain good heart health and stay away from any kind of heart disease. Stick to these foods and other great healthy foods out there to be sure you pass a cholesterol test with flying colors whenever one is administered (which should be, if you are over 20, once every five years at least, and more if you have a heart condition or if your doctor finds it necessary).
- Article by Anne Hamilton