Best Foods for the Heart

Among the different parts of the human body, the heart is viewed as one of the most vital, since it delivers oxygenated blood to the other parts of the body, such as the intestines, the liver, the lungs, and the brain. It is known that the body is capable of facilitating gas exchange, which happens in the alveolar sacs and the capillaries. However, without the heart, oxygenation will be compromised because the lungs may be able to allow oxygenation and blood will not be able to reach other vital organs of the body. In line with this physiological process, it is important to maintain cardiovascular health, by nutrition, exercise, and rest.

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Heart diseases are usually caused by either an impaired oxygen supply to the heart muscles or a heart defect. The restricted supply of oxygen is due to the narrowing of the arteries that supply blood, due to the accumulation of fat deposits in the arterial lumen or hardening of the arteries secondary to aging. With such details, the collection of fat in the arteries can be controlled with proper nutrition and exercise.

Salmon and other kinds of fish stand as some of the healthy food choices for the heart. They are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are capable of reducing the risk of arrhythmia or irregular heart beat and atherosclerosis or plaque accumulation in the arteries, according to Health. In addition, the omega-3 fatty acids can also help reduce triglycerides, which affects cardiovascular health. As per the American Heart Association, eating fish, preferably, the fatty ones, is recommended at least two times a week.

Yogurt is another healthy food for the heart, due to its ability to combat gum disease. According to Eating Well, gum disease is related to the presence of sore throat, which is a risk factor of having a heart disease like rheumatic heart disease. In Japan, researchers found out that out of nearly 1,000 adults, those who had the highest dairy intake, such as yogurt and yogurt-type drinks, had the healthiest gums. This is because yogurt has probiotics – live active cultures used to ferment foods – that may help the body combat the growth and multiplication of bacteria, improve the digestive process, and boost the immunity. However, it is unknown as to how much yogurt a person needs to consume for the gums to remain healthy.

Aside from being a protein source, walnuts are also considered as good food for the heart. According to Web MD, consuming five ounces of nuts per week may reduce a person’s risk of heart disease by 50 percent. Also, walnuts contain a decent amount of monosaturated fats or good fats, instead of saturated fats, which can be found in foods like butter. Thus, one would be able to decrease his bad cholesterol levels and boost good cholesterol levels. Just like salmon, tuna, and mackerel, walnuts are also viewed as sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for the heart.  If walnuts are unavailable, a person can also consume almonds, pistachios, chia seeds, flaxseed, and cashews.

Included in the list of foods that are good for the heart is oatmeal. According to Prevention, plain and non-processed kind of oatmeal is preferred over instant and flavored oats, since the latter sort usually contain high amounts of processed sugar, which may lead to hyperglycemia, diabetes, hypertension, and eventually heart disease. In addition, oatmeal has fiber, which acts as sweep to help the body get rid of toxins and harmful substances.

Along with the aforementioned foods for the heart, it is important to couple it with regular exercise, adequate rest, and healthy lifestyle.

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