Nibbling on 5 ounces of nuts each week may cut your risk of heart disease in half
Walnuts have lots of “good” fats. When you use these monounsaturated fats in place of saturated fats (such as butter), you cut your “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise your “good” HDL cholesterol. Walnuts are also a good source of omega-3 fats .Twenty-eight grams of walnuts (an ounce) have more antioxidants than the sum of what the average person gets from fruits and vegetables .
Eating three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries each week may help reduce a woman’s risk of heart attack, a large new study suggests. The study included nearly 94,000 young and middle-aged women who took part in the Nurses’ Health Study II. The women completed questionnaires about their diet every four years for 18 years. During the study period, 405 participants had heart attacks. Women who ate the most blueberries and strawberries were 32 percent less likely to have a heart attack, compared to women who ate berries once a month or less. This held true even among women who ate a diet rich in other fruits and vegetables .
Omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed can help prevent hardening of arteries and reduce atherosclerotic plaque build-up. Moreover, flaxseeds have been shown to exhibit cholesterol lowering effects. Preliminary research also suggests that these little nutritional powerhouse seeds may also help normalize the heartbeat. To reap most of flaxseeds health benefits, grind them before adding them to your food .
Start your day with a steaming bowl of oats, which are full of omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. This fiber-rich superfood can lower levels of LDL (or bad) cholesterol and help keep arteries clear. Opt for coarse or steel-cut oats over instant varieties—which contain more fiber—and top your bowl off with a banana for another 4 grams of fiber .
Western scientists have shown interest in the potential beneficial effects of this lovely vegetable on blood pressure. One study found that injecting laboratory animals with celery lowered the test animals' blood pressure by more than 10%. The amount of celery used in this animal test would correspond to approximately four stalks in humans. Celery is known for being rich in potassium, but that is hardly the only blood pressure lowering substance celery provides. Celery also contains butyl phthalide, a phytochemical compound that gives this popular dipping snack its distinctive taste and smell. It is also a great source of luteolin, a flavonoid that has been shown to prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol .
Tomatoes contain several extraordinary properties that make them one of the best foods for improving the cardiovascular system. Their most notable quality: they supply lycopene which is a very strong antioxidant. One study found that men with the largest amount of lycopene in their body fat were half as likely to have a heart attack as those who had the lowest concentration of lycopene in their body fat .
High consumption of green tea can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. One randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that test subjects who took green tea extract supplements had lower blood pressures after the three week trial period. Their systolic blood pressure dropped on average by 5 mmHg and diastolic by 4 mmHg. Further, the test subjects total cholesterol levels dropped by 10 mg/dL. Another study, conducted on animals, found that polyphenol compounds in green tea could block the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines and promote its excretion from the body .
A study performed by researchers with Imperial College London a few years ago found that sulforaphane in Broccoli may be able to actually prevent inflammation in certain “high risk” arterial areas. According to the researchers, atherosclerosis, or the building up of plaque in the arteries is particular common among bends and branches of our blood’s highways. A naturally protective protein in the body, Nrf2, is inactive in these areas. However, sulforaphane can activate the protein, helping to curb the inflammation and build-up .
Packed with monounsaturated fat, avocados can help lower LDL levels while raising the amount of HDL cholesterol in your body. Avocados allow for the absorption of other carotenoids—especially beta-carotene and lycopene—which are essential for heart health. They also provide close to 20 essential nutrients, including high levels of potassium. Avocados are cholesterol- and sodium-free, and more than 50 percent of the fruit's fat content comes from monounsaturated fats .
Rice bran Oil:
Good cooking oil doesn't just add life to the most common of foods, but also plays a pivotal role in your health. It could affect your cholesterol levels, alter your metabolic syndrome and if you're using the right kind of oil, also reduce inflammation. This makes it all the more important to pick the right one. Rice bran oil is a relatively new entrant in the category of cooking oils and perhaps the healthiest. Rice bran oil has 37 percent PUFA and 45 percent MUFA, almost a 1:1 ratio. Rice bran might help lower cholesterol because it contains the right amount of oryzanol which is an antioxidant. It helps decrease cholesterol absorption and increase cholesterol elimination. Rice bran oil is made from bran which makes it rich in Vitamin E that is essentially an antioxidant. What’s also interesting is that rice bran oil is relatively cheap .
- BMJ Blogs: World Heart Day: Promote physical activity for cardiovascular health!/a>
- Health: Berries May Cut Heart Attack Risk in Women, Study Finds
- WebMD: Heart-Healthy Foods
- WebMD: Walnut May Be Top Nut for Heart Health
- Health Food: Foods That Help Improve the Cardiovascular System
- Natural Society: Eating Broccoli Reduces Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Promotes Heart Health
- Health: Best Foods for Your Heart
- Health: Best Foods for Your Heart-Avocado/a>
- NDTV Food: 10 Health Benefits of Rice Bran Oil