Love your heart. Simple, yet meaningful.

As one of the vital organs, the heart was long recognized as the center of our entire body. It is considered as the seat of life, or emotion, or reason, will, purpose or the mind. Can you imagine what will happen if this important part of us suddenly stops functioning, literally? Bet no one wants that to happen.

World Health Organization statistic shows that approximately 17.5 million deaths per year caused by cardiovascular diseases world-wide. The majority of cardiovascular disease is non-communicable and related to lifestyle and other factors. And, it is becoming more prevalent with ageing.

But no worries, there are many ways to prevent this, especially for vegetarians. According to Dr. Ann G. Kulze, MD, “There is solid data that shows vegetarians have a much lower incidence of cardiovascular disease than meat eaters.”

Thus, heart disease is considerably influenced by the food choices we make. Other than that, by simply exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating smart can prevent 80% of cardiovascular disease.

Heart-Healthy Nutrients

A well-balanced diet pumps your body full of the heart-healthy nutrients, mostly found in fruits, whole grains, vegetables and other hearty foods. With that, we recommend these 6 food nutrients compounds that can actually help to reduce the risk of heart disease.

1. Potassium

According to researchers, a diet rich in the essential mineral potassium is related with lower blood pressure levels. It lowers blood pressure by countering the effect of excess sodium. Also, by supporting in the transmission of nerve impulses and promoting normal muscle function, wherein, both are vital for optimal heart and blood vessel functions.

Potatoes, bananas, tomatoes, dark leafy greens, prunes, soybeans, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, avocado and almonds are some foods that are rich in Potassium.

2. Carotenoids

These plant chemicals are a main force in the battle against cardiovascular disease. This is due to its exceptional properties such as fat solubility and potent antioxidant. Study findings suggest that they interact with bad LDL cholesterol, preventing it from oxidizing and sticking to artery walls. According to 2004 research study, women with higher levels of carotenoids in their blood had a 34 percent lower risk of heart disease.

Watermelon, kale, carrot, sweet potatoes and red bell peppers is where this nutrient can be found.

3. Flavonoids

With their potent antioxidative and anti-inflammatory activity, flavonoids are a powerful pack against cardiovascular disease. This is because both oxidation and inflammation are involved in the development of heart disease. It particularly helps improve blood flow and reduce blood clotting by keeping the lining of the arteries flexible.

Cocoa, dark chocolate, green tea, red wine, extra virgin olive oil, pomegranates and apples are examples of flavonoids-rich food.

4. Soluble fiber

So what gives soluble fiber its heart-healthy properties? It can slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrate foods. Giving rise to lower and more stable blood glucose and insulin levels, which has constructive effects on metabolism and arterial health. It also combines with water in the GI tract to form a gelatinous mass that “sponges up” cholesterol, withdrawing its absorption and escorting it out of the body.

Find it in whole grains such as oats and barley; okra and Brussels sprout.

5. Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids play a key role in heart health as confirmed by continuous research. Unlike saturated fats, which promote disease-causing inflammation in the body, it acts like aspirin, helping to cool the fires of inflammation. It can give rise to anti-inflammatory molecules known as resolvins and protectins, both of which ward off blood clots that can trigger stroke and heart attack. In addition, scientist established that omega-3 fatty acids lower triglyceride levels, a risk factor for heart disease. They also found that they increase good HDL cholesterol.

Here are some foods which contain Omega-3 fatty acids: Flaxseed, flax oil, walnuts, soy, canola oil, small dark leafy greens such as watercress, arugula and purslane.

6. B vitamins (folate, B6)

The risk of coronary artery disease and stroke are often associated by having elevated levels of an amino acid in the blood, which is usually known as homocysteine. B vitamins folate and B6 work in concert to metabolize or break down homocysteine. Health study showed a reduced risk of heart disease in women who always used multivitamins which is a major source of folic acid and vitamin B6 and also in those with high dietary intake of these vitamins.

The best sources for these vitamins are fortified breakfast cereals, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, potatoes, bananas and sunflower seeds.

Wish to learn more about these food nutrients to take care of your heart as well as to know about the food source? You can visit our pages to check out our list of medicinal plants together with their health benefits.

And you can also like our page or leave a comment for your questions or inquiries and we will be glad to help you.




Image by geralt / CC BY 2.0