When considering heart health there is no doubt that diet and lifestyle play a major role. In fact, certain foods can influence blood pressure, cholesterol levels and even inflammation.
According to the Heart Foundation, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major cause of death in Australia, with 43,963 deaths attributed to CVD in Australia in 2016. However there are a number of foods you can add to your diet, which can help to reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Health experts have heralded the benefits of omega-3 fats for years, and fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Previous studies have found they can contribute to a reduction in inflammation and lower blood pressure, as well as keeping the heart beating steadily. If you don’t eat much seafood, fish oil supplements are another option.
We all know that almonds have many health benefits and it turns out that tucking into a small serving of the nuts every day could lower your risk of heart disease, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Almonds are a great source of healthy fats and fibre, two important nutrients that can help protect against heart disease. They are also rich in vitamin E, which helps lower bad cholesterol.
It’s no secret that avocados are fantastic for your health, and eating just one of the fruits per week could reap multiple health benefits including maintaining a healthy heart. The ‘good fats’ found in avocado oil are monounsaturated oleic acid (omega-9 fatty acid), which is also found in olive oil (also known to be great for your health). Oleic acid has several health benefits including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as reducing the risk of cancer.
Great news for chocolate lovers next, as eating dark chocolate daily has been proven to lower the risk of heart disease. And new research found that dark chocolate made with extra virgin olive oil can improve your cardiovascular health, even if you have big risk factors such as a family history of heart disease.
Tomatoes are loaded with antioxidants that are great for maintaining good heart health. They are rich in a substance called lycopene, which is a carotenoid (fat-soluble pigments) that may help get rid of bad cholesterol.
Tomatoes are also low in calories, high in fibre, and have many nutrients that are good for your overall health.