Unfortunately, in the US, heart disease is the most common reason for death – which makes preventive lifestyle choices all the more important! Here are some heart-healthy (and tasty) foods to add onto your plate:
Dark chocolate, with minimal ingredients, no sugar substitutes and >75% cacao is heart-healthy. A variety of studies associate chocolate consumption with a decreased risk for heart disease – with a recent meta-analysis showing that 2 – 6 servings of chocolate per week not only decreases the risk of heart disease but also stroke and diabetes. It is rich in antioxidants called flavonoids which protect the heart and body. If you’re not sensitive to high histamine foods, dark chocolate is a delicious preventive medicine!
The monounsaturated fats in avocados are linked to reduced cholesterol and a decreased risk for heart disease. One recent study found that consuming 2+ servings of avocado per week may lead to a 16% lowered risk of heart disease. They are also rich in an essential nutrient for heart health, potassium – with one avocado containing 28% of the daily requirement. Since avocados are high in histamine, their heart protective properties are best for someone who is not prone to histamine overload!
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, namely oleic acid. There are large studies which support olive oil consumption as a preventive measure to heart disease, especially for those at high risk of heart disease. A review on olive oil and heart health found that extra virgin olive oil is anti-inflammatory, rich in antioxidants, and supports blood vessel health. Add it into salads, soups and vegetable dishes!
Green tea is full of anti-inflammatory polyphenols and antioxidants which protect the cell and heart from damage. A good number of studies have taken a look at the relationship between green tea consumption and heart disease. One study found that higher green tea consumption decreased the risk for heart disease and improved heart-disease related biomarkers, while other reviews have indicated that green tea consumption improves risk factors for heart disease. Sip on a nice brew throughout the day!
Support heart health with lifestyle factors through consuming the foods listed above, a healthy overall diet, exercising, getting adequate sleep and managing stress!