When was the last time you had given a thought about how brilliantly your heart does what it does: pump blood to all the gazillion cells present in your body? Well, now would be a good time to think about it and thank it as well.
The heart is one amazing organ not because it is essential for survival but also because it works full time, throughout your life and toughs out most things that comes its way. But when things go wrong with it, there’s no coming back.
Everyone likes a good heart, both literally and metaphorically. So maybe we should all pay heed to its needs and eat things that will keep it so. Here are some foods that are a must in your diet in order to have a good track record of your heart:
1. Wild Salmon (not farmed): Fish like salmon and sardines are rich sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, a good metabolic marker for cardiovascular diseases. Also, it contains selenium which is actively involved in cardiovascular protection. Try using fresh sardines because the canned ones have high salt content which is a red sign for hypertension patients. While preparing the dish, don’t make an oily marinade and instead, rub some citrus juice instead. Cooking healthy fish with boatloads of unhealthy oil does not work or make sense, especially when heavy trans fatty acids are present in most oils.
2. Liver: Fats present in the liver are rather good for the heart. Liver in its original form or cod is great too. Cod liver oils are very popular in cardiovascular patients.
3. Walnuts: They say fat is bad for health. That is a myth. Some fats are rather essential and required in the right amounts for proper heart health. This nut is full of omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, fiber and folate oil, all of which are friends of a good heart. It is also high in polyunsaturated fats which boost circulation.
4. Oatmeal: Breakfasting with oatmeal is really good not only because it has high fiber content which does not let clogging of arteries happen but also because it has high potassium levels, essential for the auto-functioning of cardiac muscles. It also lowers the LDL or bad cholesterol levels in the body and helps prevent artery blockages. Magnesium and calcium are also present in a fairly good quantity and makes oatmeal a superfood. Adding fresh berries to oatmeal increases its anti-oxidant content. Beware of the processed instant oatmeal as it is sugar coated, quite literally. Stick to the steel cut or freshly rolled oatmeal.
5. Blueberries: Maybe not the buttery blueberry cheesecake, but adding blueberries to your diet definitely ups your heart’s fitness level. Reservatrol and other anti-oxidants help fight coronary diseases. Add them to your milk shake, oatmeal, yoghurt or eat them just like that!
6. Green Tea: It has anti-oxidant, flavenoids and catechin all of which translates to a good heart. The Chinese herbalists have known its powers for reducing hypertension and removing arterial blood clots for centuries.
7. Broccoli: You dread this one, right? Agreed it is not exactly very tasty, but for your health’s sake, gulp it down please. It is packed with fiber, low in cholesterol, high in calcium and has a truckload of anti-oxidants.
8. Yams: Helps bring down the blood pressure due to the fact that it is spilling with Vitamin C, calcium and iron. Eat the skin too as it has a lot of heart-friendly nutrients.
9. Whole grains: Brown rice. Brown bread. Flaxseed. Whole grains are free of glutens which add to bad cholesterol. Steer clear of processed grains and you will have a wholesome fiber filled, low cholesterol meal and as a bonus, an unclogged artery.
10. Apples: An apple a day keeps the doctor away? It does. It sweeps away 40% of Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) and makes your heart super strong.
The peel contains all the anti-oxidants. Polyphenols present in apples protects the good cholesterol from free radical attachment, which is not good for the heart. The core contains fiber and pectin which wash away bad cholesterol.
11. Oranges: This citrus fruit is full of Vitamin C and flavenoids, both of which are vital for keeping a normal blood pressure. Hesperidin present in oranges improves blood flow from the heart as well. Vitamin C is a prominent protector against myocardial infarction or, commonly called a heart attack.
12. Avocado: This fruit is like manna dew when it comes to being food for the heart. They are high on monounsaturated fats that keep LDLs or bad cholesterol under check and minimize blood clots.
13. Kidney beans: These beans are packed with Vitamin B complex like folate, niacin, etc. Magnesium and calcium add to the goodness levels.
14. Red Wine: Yes, alcohol of the right kinds will help your heart work better. Reservatrol is the secret along with many other anti-oxidants. Reports say that it is also works as an anti-ageing factor. Who does not love that?
15. Almonds: These nuts are full of monounsaturated oils and polyphenols, Vitamin E, magnesium and fiber. It is a total package for a healthy heart.
In these times of a sedentary lifestyle and fast food, it is essential to take good care of your health and especially the cardiovascular system. Heart attack deaths are reported increasingly in the age group of 30 to 50 which shows how even young people are susceptible. Eat well. Stay Well. So that your heart literally ‘hearts’ (loves) you.