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45 foods for a healthy heart

Last updated on: May 9, 2011 16:45 IST

45 foods for a healthy heart

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Gud2eat.com

Keeping your heart healthy is quite an uphill task these days. Try out these 45 foods to keep your heart fit.

So we told you about the kind of foods that will keep your blood pressure under check last week.

We also told you about the kind of foods that will boost your sex drive a few weeks ago and foods that will make your brain more active!

Today we bring you the foods that will help you keep a healthy heart.

Here are foods that will help you do just that.

1. Fibre in apples is heart-healthy

Both soluble fiber and insoluble fiber in Apples helps lower LDL (bad) Cholesterol levels and protects from developing Atherosclerosis, which leads to heart attack. 1 cup of apple contains about 3.7 grams of Fiber.

Courtesy: Gud2eat.com

Disclaimer: This information should not be relied upon for medical decisions and we advise you to consult appropriate professionals for specific suggestions tailored to your situation.


Photographs: Gud2eat.com
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2. Oranges are heart healthy

Oranges are heart healthy as they contains Folate or Vitamin B9 that helps in reducing homocysteine levels that are associated with heart disease. High homocysteine levels are dangerous for heart health.

3. Green peas are heart healthy

Green peas contains Vitamin B2 and Vitamin B6 that are necessary to convert homocysteine to benign molecules. homocysteine is dangerous molecule that damages blood vessel walls leading to heart disease.

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4. Blueberries are heart healthy

Soluble Fiber Pectin in Blueberries helps lower Cholesterol. Fiber binds to bile salts in the colon and removes them from the body. Body has to replace bile salts and has to break down Cholesterol to do so.

5. Grapes are heart healthy

Grapes are heart healthy as they contain Flavans, Anthocyanins, Quercetin, Kaempferol, and Resveratrol that have antioxidant properties plus provide many protective effects like lowering Cholesterol.

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6. Almonds, walnuts, peanuts... protect your heart

Nuts contain heart healthy nutrients like contain Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Vitamin E, Magnesium and Potassium. Enjoy a 'only' handful of nuts daily as they are tasty and nuts help reduce risk of heart disease.

7. Green beans are heart healthy

Antioxidants Beta Carotene and Vitamin C in Green Beans both prevent Cholesterol from becoming oxidized by free radicals. Only oxidized Cholesterol sticks to arteries leading to blockages, heart attack or stroke.

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8. Split peas are heart healthy

Split peas contains soluble fiber, which binds Bile Acids and carries them out of the body as waste. If bile acids are removed, the body pulls Cholesterol from the bloodstream to produce more.

9. Papaya is heart healthy

Papayas, rich in powerful antioxidants Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Carotenoids help in preventing the oxidation of LDL Cholesterol. Only oxidized Cholesterol sticks to arteries that may lead to heart disease.

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10. Vitamin B6 in chicken is heart healthy

Chicken is rich Vitamin B6, which helps convert the dangerous chemical homocysteine into benign molecules. homocysteine damages blood vessel walls and increases the progression of Atherosclerosis.

11. Kidney beans are heart healthy

Soluble fiber in Kidney beans grabs the bile and takes it out of our body through the feces. Reduced Bile levels pushes the liver to make new Bile from Cholesterol circulating in the blood thus lowering Cholesterol levels.

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12. Beef (lean) is heart healthy

Vitamin B12, and B6 in lean Beef helps protect your heart as they lower levels of the dangerous molecule homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine are linked with a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

13. Kale is heart healthy

Fiber in Kale helps reduce high Cholesterol levels by binding to Bile Salts and facilitating their excretion. Bile is vital for digesting fats and the body will use blood Cholesterol to produce Bile Salts thus lowering its levels.

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14. Cashews are heart healthy

Cashews are rich in unsaturated fatty acid called Oleic Acid, a heart healthy Monounsaturated Fat. Oleic Acid helps increase HDL (good) Cholesterol levels. Cashews have lower fat content than most nuts.

15. Kiwifruit is heart healthy

Kiwi is rich in antioxidants Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Polyphenols that help in lowering triglyceride levels, reduced plaque build up that leads to arterial blockages, thus protecting against heart disease.

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16. Extra virgin olive oil is heart healthy

Extra virgin olive oil contains Oleic Acid that helps increase HDL (Good) Cholesterol levels. Vitamin E and Phenols in extra virgin olive oil also protect LDL Cholesterol from oxidative damage by free radicals.

17. Walnuts are heart healthy food

L-arginine in Walnuts is converted into Nitric Oxide, a chemical that helps blood vessels relax. Walnuts are especially good for people with high blood pressure as they may not have normal levels of Nitric Oxide.

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18. Potassium in Swiss chard protects your heart

Swiss Chard is a good food source of Potassium, which is essential for maintaining normal blood pressure and is involved in nerve transmission and the contraction of all muscles including the heart muscle.

19. Vitamin B12 in lamb is heart healthy

Lamb meat contains Vitamin B12, which is required to convert dangerous chemical homocysteine into other harmless molecules. Increased homocysteine levels increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

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20. Black beans are heart healthy

Black Beans are rich in Magnesium that helps lower high blood pressure. Blood vessels relax in presence of sufficient Magnesium thus improving flow of blood, oxygen, and  nutrients throughout the body.

21. Almond butter is good for your heart

Almond butter contains heart healthy Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Vitamin E, Magnesium and Potassium all help in reducing risk of heart disease. Nutty butter has heart healthy fat but is still high in calories.

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22. Garbanzo beans are heart healthy

Garbanzo beans are heart healthy as they are rich in Magnesium and Fibre. Magnesium helps lower blood pressure and soluble fiber in beans helps lower Cholesterol levels.

23. B Vitamins in Turkey are heart healthy

Turkey is rich in Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12, which are required to convert dangerous chemical homocysteine into other, benign molecules. High homocysteine levels increases progression of Atherosclerosis.

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24. Peanuts are heart healthy

Peanuts contain Monounsaturated Fats that is heart healthy as it helps in increasing HDL (good) Cholesterol levels and reduce risk of LDL (bad) Cholesterol damage.

25. Heart healthy monounsaturated fats (MUFA)

MUFA's are heart healthy fats as they lower total Cholesterol and LDL (bad) Cholesterol while increasing HDL (good) Cholesterol. Type of Fats in your diets influences the ratio of LDL to HDL blood Cholesterol.

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26. Tomatoes are heart healthy food

Tomatoes rich in antioxidant Lycopene that helps neutralize free radicals and protecting LDL Cholesterol from oxidation. Oxidation of LDL Cholesterol leads to atherosclerotic plaque formation and heart disease.

27. Romaine lettuce is heart healthy

Fiber in Romaine lettuce lowers high Cholesterol levels. Fiber binds to bile salts in the colon and removes them from the body. This forces the body to make more bile and to do so it has to break down Cholesterol.

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28. Onion is heart healthy

Chromium in Onions helps reduce LDL (bad) Cholesterol and increase HDL (Good) Cholesterol. High Cholesterol is one of the risk factors for heart disease.

29. Banana is heart healthy

Banana is rich in Potassium which is essential for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. A medium size Banana provides 467 mg of Potassium.

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30. Figs are heart healthy

Figs are rich in mineral Potassium that helps reduce high blood pressure. Note that high salt diets (junk food, processed foods, fried foods) leads to being deficient in Potassium which leads to hypertension.

31. Cranberries are heart healthy

Cranberries rich in Polyphenols -- Pterostilbene, a powerful antioxidant, which significantly increase blood levels of cardioprotective HDL (good) Cholesterol and reduce LDL (bad) Cholesterol.

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32. Mustard green is heart healthy

Mustard Greens contains Vitamin E that helps protect your heart. Vitamin E reduces the development of Atherosclerosis by protecting LDL or Bad Cholesterol from free radical oxidation.

33. Leeks are heart healthy

Leeks eaten regularly will help reduce LDL (bad) Cholesterol levels whilst increasing HDL (good) Cholesterol. Only oxidized Cholesterol forms plaques and may lead to a heart attack or stroke.

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34. Shiitake mushroom is heart healthy food

Eritadenine in Shiitake mushrooms helps lowers Cholesterol levels. The stems od Shiitake mushroom may be tough to eat but are good to make excellent soup stock and help lower high blood pressure.

35. Pinto beans are heart healthy

Pinto beans contain Magnesium that helps lower high blood pressure. 1 cup of Pinto beans provides about 24% of Magnesium required daily. Pinto Beans are also rich in Fiber that helps lower Cholesterol levels.

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36. Spinach is heart healthy food

Vitamin C and Beta Carotene in Spinach are powerful antioxidants that work together to prevent oxidation of Cholesterol. Oxidized Cholesterol is sticky and starts to build up as plaques that may lead to heart disease.

37. Apricots are heart healthy

Apricots are heart healthy as they are rich in Beta-Carotene rich that protects Cholesterol from oxidation. Beta-Carotene prevents oxidative damage of LDL (bad) Cholesterol thus preventing heart disease.

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38. Olives are heart healthy

Free radicals oxidize Cholesterol which forms plaques & blockages in arteries which may lead to heart disease. Olives contain Monounsaturated fats & Vitamin E that prevents oxidation of Cholesterol.

39. Summer squash is heart healthy food

Vitamin C and Beta Carotene in Summer squash helps prevent oxidation of Cholesterol and reduce development of Atherosclerosis.

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40. Lentils are heart healthy

Soluble fiber in Lentils helps lower Cholesterol levels; Magnesium helps lower high blood pressure & Folate helps reduce levels of dangerous molecule homocysteine.

41. Navy beans are heart healthy

Folate and Thiamin in Navy beans support nerve health and red blood cell production. Navy beans are also a good source of Magnesium and Calcium, which help to regulate blood pressure and heart rhythm.

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42. Almond skin is also heart healthy

Vitamin E in Almonds works synergistically with Flavonoids helps supprt heart Health. Flavonoids in Almond skin are unique combination of catechins (found in green tea) and naringenin (found in grapefruit).

43. Winter squash is a perfect recipe for your heart

Beta-carotene, Vitamin C prevents Cholesterol oxidation, Potassium lowers blood pressure, Fiber lowers Cholesterol levels and Folate lowers homocysteine levels.

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44. Lima beans are heart healthy

Lima Beans are packed with dietary fiber that helps lower Cholesterol levels; Magnesium helps lower high blood pressure & Folate helps reduce levels of dangerous molecule homocysteine.

45. Purple grape juice keep heart muscle healthy

Purple Grapes rich in Resveratrol helps maintain heart muscle cells and protect your heart. Resveratrol is known to help prevent damage to blood vessels, reduce bad cholesterol levels and prevent blood clots.



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