With Valentine’s week upon us, many people are thinking about hearts and other signs of love. During this time most people are focused on the romantic idea of the heart but, unfortunately, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. The American Heart Association describes heart disease as a collection of problems related to plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries, or atherosclerosis. Even though heart disease is so prevalent in the US, there are many changes to you diet that may help your heart health. Adding some of the foods below may be helpful.
Salmon: The American Heart Association recommends eating a deck of card size serving of fish (particularly fatty fish) at least two times a week. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and albacore have been shown to decrease triglyceride levels, slow growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque, and can slightly lower blood pressure.
Leafy Greens: Leafy green vegetables, a rich source of both lutein and potassium, decreases the risk of artery thickening and helps manage blood-pressure levels.
Oatmeal: Oats contain the fiber beta-glucan, a powerful cholesterol fighting tool. Three grams of soluble oat fiber per day (roughly the amount found in one bowl of oatmeal) typically lowers total cholesterol by 8-23%.
Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa or higher, contains flavonoids, powerful anti-oxidants which impact vascular health, by lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the brain and heart, and making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot.
Extra virgin olive oil: Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil is loaded with anti-oxidants which can lower LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, and inflammation.
Adding some of these foods may help reduce your risk of heart disease.