HEART HEALTHY & CHOLESTEROL FIGHTING FOODS
This week I'll like to give a bit of information on a few foods you can eat help lower your cholesterol and aid in preventing Heart disease.
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Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. You could be at risk without even knowing it. Your gender, ethnicity, race, or age can add to your chances of developing this deadly disease. Eating these heart-healthy foods, which research suggests can help improve your heart health and a bit of exercise can lower cholesterol & aid in preventing this deadly disease.
Research has shown that yogurt may protect against gum disease. Left unchecked, gum disease may raise a person’s risk for heart disease. Experts believe that probiotics may help to counter growth
of the “unfriendly” bacteria in the mouth. Probiotics are live active cultures used to ferment foods, such as yogurt, and studies suggest that they may improve digestion and boost immunity too. As
for gum health, it’s not yet clear how much yogurt (or other fermented dairy foods) one needs to consume to reap
Antioxidants found in raisins fight the growth of a type of bacteria that can cause inflammation and gum disease. Once again people with gum disease are likely to suffer from heart problems & heart disease. So, dealing with one can help people avoid the other. As a result, choosing certain foods, such as raisins, may help you protect both your gums and your heart.
People who eat plenty of whole grains tend to be leaner and have a lower risk of heart disease than those who don’t. This is probably because whole grains contain antioxidants that are protective against coronary disease. The fiber in whole grains also has its benefits: various studies link a high-fiber diet with a lower risk of heart disease.
Soluble fiber binds bile acid, a key component in fat digestion that our bodies make from cholesterol. We can’t digest fiber, so when bile acids are attached to it, they get pushed out of the body as waste. This causes the body to convert more cholesterol into bile acids, which ultimately has the effect of lowering cholesterol levels. Foods high in soluble fiber include oatmeal, barley, beans, okra and eggplant, and citrus fruit, such as oranges.
Beans & Lentils:
Eating beans regularly is good for your heart, and you don’t need to eat a lot of them to benefit. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests having just 1⁄2 cup of cooked pinto beans daily might lower cholesterol. Beans contain a variety of heart-protective chemicals, including flavonoids, compounds also found in wine, berries and chocolate, which inhibit the adhesion of platelets in the blood, which can help lower risk for heart attack and strokes.
Consuming two or more servings of fish per week can lower the risk of developing coronary heart disease over the long term. Fish, especially “oily” kinds, such as salmon and tuna—contain omega-3 fats, which lower levels of triglycerides in the blood that may contribute to blood clotting. Omega-3s also lower blood pressure slightly and can help prevent irregular heart rhythms. Flaxseed oil, canola oil and walnuts also contain omega-3 fats. These days you can find omega-3 fats in eggs, & certain spreads.
Nuts are full of vitamins, minerals, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and low levels of saturated fats. Research suggests that people who eat nuts—walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, pine nuts and peanuts (which actually are legumes)—two to four days or more per week have a lower incidence of heart disease than people who eat them less often.
Popcorn delivers polyphenols, antioxidants linked to improving heart health. Popcorn boasts three times more polyphenols than kidney beans (the highest vegetable polyphenol source) and four times more than cranberries (the best fruit source).
What’s more, popcorn is a whole grain and people who eat plenty of whole grains tend to be leaner and have a lower risk of heart disease than those who don’t.
Rich dark chocolate has a blood-thinning effect, which can benefit cardiovascular health, and it may also boost the immune system by reducing inflammation. Maintaining youthful blood vessels lowers risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and dementia.
Researchers suggest that the strong antioxidant compounds found in apples play a key role by preventing “bad” LDL cholesterol from causing a series of events that result in the buildup of plaque in arteries, as well as inhibiting inflammation. Apples are also rich in pectin, a form of soluble fiber known to help lower cholesterol, and they provide a decent amount of vitamin C, another antioxidant. As they say “An Apple a day, Keeps the doctor away”.
An excellent source of vitamin C, plus vitamin A, potassium and fiber, tomatoes are high in lycopene, which works with other vitamins and minerals to aid in disease prevention. Research suggests that the combination of nutrients in tomatoes may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Cooking may actually increase the health benefits of this lush fruit because although cooked tomatoes have less vitamin C, their lycopene is more available and the level of antioxidant activity is unaffected by cooking.
This Super fruit may help to reduce the buildup of plaque in arteries and lower blood pressure. Experts believe that pomegranate’s benefits come from its powerful punch of polyphenols—including anthocyanin’s (found in blue, purple and deep-red foods) and tannins (also found in wine and tea). In a 2008 study, researchers found that compared with other antioxidant-rich beverages such as blueberry juice, cranberry juice and red wine, pomegranate juice naturally had the highest level of antioxidants.
One banana has 422 mg, about 12 percent of your recommended daily dose of potassium. The potassium in bananas helps maintain normal heart function and the balance of sodium and water in the body. Potassium helps the kidneys excrete excess sodium, thereby contributing to healthy blood pressure. This mineral is especially important for people taking diuretics aka water pills for heart disease, which combat sodium and water retention but also strip potassium from the body in the process. Other good sources include sweet potatoes, nonfat yogurt and spinach.
Drinking in moderation may protect the heart by raising “good” HDL cholesterol, decreasing inflammation and “thinning the blood” (preventing clots that can cause heart attack and stroke). Moderate drinking also increases estrogen, which protects the heart, a benefit particularly helpful to postmenopausal women whose reduced estrogen levels increase their risk of heart disease. FYI: 1 drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor.
Last and certainly not least of them all is my favorite Green Tea. Some of the strongest evidence of the benefits of Green Tea comes from studies of heart disease. Scientists have found that those who drink 12 ounces or more of tea a day are about half as likely to have a heart attack as non-tea drinkers. Scientists also reported that Japanese men who drank a daily cup of green tea significantly lowered their risk of developing gum disease, the more tea, the lower the risk. The researchers believe antioxidants called catechins in green tea are the key. Catechins hinder the body’s inflammatory response to the bacteria that cause gum disease. Remember, people with gum disease are twice as likely to suffer from heart problems.
NOTE: PORTION CONTROL & MODERATION IS REC OMMENDED