Food for the Heart

Want to know a healthy-heart diet? Here’s a list of five foods that help lower cholesterol and manage blood pressure.

1: Blueberries

Blueberries are not only delicious but are also rich in antioxidants. According to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, researchers believe that the antioxidants in blueberries work to reduce the buildup of "bad" LDL cholesterol in artery walls that contributes to cardiovascular disease and stroke. Antioxidants help neutralize harmful byproducts of metabolism called free radicals that can lead to cancer and other age-related diseases. 1 cup serving of blueberries a day is recommended.

2: Salmon

Salmon is one of the best sources of a "healthy fat" called omega-3 fatty acids. Oily fish such as salmon (as well as mackerel, herring, and sardines) contain omega-3s. This fat is believed to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by lowering the levels of triglycerides in the body -- blood fats linked to heart disease and diabetes. Research has also found that omega-3 fatty acids prevent blood clots by making platelets less likely to clump together and stick to artery walls.The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish (especially oily fish like salmon) at least twice a week; a serving is between 3 oz and 6 oz.

3: Soy Protein

Soy protein is a good alternative for red meat; rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins, and minerals, it's also lower in fat and higher in fiber than many meat choices. Studies show that soy protein, when eaten with a healthy low-fat diet, lowers cholesterol. Researchers found that people who ate a diet of several cholesterol-fighting foods lowered their cholesterol as much as people who took medicine. Both the FDA and the American Heart Association encourage eating at least 1 oz (28 grams) of soy protein daily. You can get your soy from soybeans, soy nuts, soy milk, soy flour, energy bars, fortified cereal, tempeh, and tofu.

4: Oatmeal

A half-cup daily serving of oatmeal contains only about 130 calories while delivering 5 grams of heart-healthy fiber that helps to lower cholesterol and keep body weight to a healthy level. Another benefit of oatmeal is that it will fill you up and likely keep you filled until lunchtime, so you're not tempted by unhealthy snacks. Oatmeal and other whole grains such as whole wheat, barley, rye, millet, quinoa, brown rice, and wild rice also help reduce the risk of diabetes, which in itself is a risk factor for heart disease. The daily recommendation for fiber intake is between 21 and 38 grams, depending on your sex and age, according to the American Dietetic Association.

5: Spinach

This dark green, leafy vegetable (and its cousins such as kale, Swiss chard, broccoli, and collard greens) is high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that may protect against cardiovascular disease; it's also a source of omega-3 fatty acids. Spinach is also rich in folate, folate helps reduce the blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine. An emerging risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease is a high level of homocysteine. Eating a cup a day of your favorite dark green, leafy vegetable is recommended.


3 comments:

Rosa April 30, 2009 at 10:12 PM  

yea, soy protein is really good for the heart. :)

thanks for sharing this sis..

Pinay Mommy May 2, 2009 at 12:33 AM  

Thanks for sharing this Mommy! I think I need to let hubby read this post.

Anyway, can you visit your other blog? The one you just showed me lately and talked about? I left a message at your shoutbox. Please check it out.

Thanks!

Genejosh May 2, 2009 at 10:34 PM  

very "healthful" info.

if you won't mind, i'll have an award for you: Friendship Award

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