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Healthy Heart

Give Your Heart some LOVE with Nourishing Foods

BY PUREHEALTH RESEARCH | Sep 21, 2021

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Your body is a biological machine, and your heart is the fuel pump. That means when something goes wrong with your heart, the entire machine is at risk. You don’t notice your heart pumping away most of the time, but you can hear it and feel it. We equate the heart with love. And it holds pride of place when listing organ systems.

This incredible organ squeezes life-giving oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood to flow through 60,000 miles of blood vessels to fuel about 724 trillion cells in your body.1 2 Your heart beats approximately 100,000 times each day, 35 million times a year, and about 2.5 billion times during your lifetime.3

So, you’d want to do everything you can to keep this dynamo fit and robust.

7 Heart Nourishing Foods

Your diet plays a significant role in your heart’s health. Food can be medicinal, or it can drive disease. What you place on your fork is a choice with consequences, good or bad. Minor changes to your grocery list and favorite recipes can improve your heart markers and overall well-being as you age by a quantum leap.

1. Eat more vegetables, especially dark leafy greens

VegetablesMixing an assortment of veggies into a salad is a nutrient smorgasbord that will rev up your body. Spinach, kale, and collard greens are brimming with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including vitamin K that protects your arteries and promotes healthy blood clotting.4 5 They’re also high in natural nitrates that help reduce blood pressure, arterial stiffness, and improve the function of cells lining blood vessels.

Vegetables

Mixing an assortment of veggies into a salad is a nutrient smorgasbord that will rev up your body. Spinach, kale, and collard greens are brimming with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including vitamin K that protects your arteries and promotes healthy blood clotting.4 5 They’re also high in natural nitrates that help reduce blood pressure, arterial stiffness, and improve the function of cells lining blood vessels.

Studies found that increasing leafy greens in daily diets showed a significant 16% drop in heart disease incidence.6 7 Researchers also found that garlic can reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and inhibit platelet buildup, which may reduce the risk of clots and stroke.8 9 10 11 Colorful vegetables provide a wealth of cellular fuel that supports almost every aspect of your health, including the heart. Not eating enough or lacking a variety of these vegetables causes deficiencies of these micronutrients and leads to disease. Don’t be afraid to explore new veggies and colors!

2. Switch from refined grains to whole grains (preferably ancient grains)

Fiber and nutrients are much higher in whole grains compared to refined grains. The processing of refined grains involves stripping all the nutrients (and taste) and adding artificial chemicals to boost the flavor to compensate. As a result, all processed foods promote disease. Whole grains improve your gut health, support your immunity and digestion. (Avoid gluten found in wheat, rye, and barley to prevent Leaky Gut, which sparks inflammation that could harm your heart.)

Grains

GrainsFiber and nutrients are much higher in whole grains compared to refined grains. The processing of refined grains involves stripping all the nutrients (and taste) and adding artificial chemicals to boost the flavor to compensate. As a result, all processed foods promote disease. Whole grains improve your gut health, support your immunity and digestion. (Avoid gluten found in wheat, rye, and barley to prevent Leaky Gut, which sparks inflammation that could harm your heart.)

Whole grains help reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol, lowering your risk for heart disease.12 13 14 One study showed that eating whole grains significantly decreased systolic blood pressure by 6 mmHg, reducing the risk of stroke by about 25%.15

3. Swap refined flour-based pastas for veggie/legume-based pastas
Pastas

Nutrient-deficient refined flours are the express train to obesity and heart disease. Swapping these for healthier versions made with delicious lentils, cauliflower, or other veggies significantly reduces harmful factors and increases good ones. And you still get to enjoy your spaghetti, lasagna, and ravioli! Add garlic, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, basil, spinach, and more for heart-boosting nourishment. Get creative and score bigger rewards!

PastasNutrient-deficient refined flours are the express train to obesity and heart disease. Swapping these for healthier versions made with delicious lentils, cauliflower, or other veggies significantly reduces harmful factors and increases good ones. And you still get to enjoy your spaghetti, lasagna, and ravioli! Add garlic, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, basil, spinach, and more for heart-boosting nourishment. Get creative and score bigger rewards!

4. Antioxidants – the ultimate shield for arteries

Berries, especially the darker ones like raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, are bursting with flavor and goodness for your heart. These megastars are rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins that protect your delicate blood vessels and heart muscle from the ravages of free radicals.16 One study found that blueberries helped protect and improve the function of cells that line blood vessels, helping control blood pressure, and reducing the risk of clot formations.17

Antioxidants

AntioxidantsBerries, especially the darker ones like raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, are bursting with flavor and goodness for your heart. These megastars are rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins that protect your delicate blood vessels and heart muscle from the ravages of free radicals.16 One study found that blueberries helped protect and improve the function of cells that line blood vessels, helping control blood pressure, and reducing the risk of clot formations.17

In one study, adults with metabolic syndrome drank a freeze-dried strawberry drink for 8 weeks. Results showed an 11% decrease in “bad” LDL cholesterol.18 Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions associated with heart disease. So, eat a few handfuls of dark berries each day. Add them to your oatmeal, plain yogurt, or smoothie for the ultimate in heart protection.

5. Trade Bad Fats for Healthy Fats
Healthy fats

Avoid the bad fats found in commercially baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, and pizza dough. Anything that’s processed is harmful to your heart, including margarine, hydrogenated vegetable oils (even trans-fat-free), crackers, microwave popcorn, chips, and more. Likewise, fast foods, fried foods, and ready-made foods are all detrimental. Limit your saturated fat intake to 3 times a week and improve its quality by choosing grass-fed lean meats and pasture-raised poultry and eggs.

Healthy fatsAvoid the bad fats found in commercially baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, and pizza dough. Anything that’s processed is harmful to your heart, including margarine, hydrogenated vegetable oils (even trans-fat-free), crackers, microwave popcorn, chips, and more. Likewise, fast foods, fried foods, and ready-made foods are all detrimental. Limit your saturated fat intake to 3 times a week and improve its quality by choosing grass-fed lean meats and pasture-raised poultry and eggs.

Load up on healthy fats of avocados, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseed, olives, and nuts, including walnuts, almonds, peanuts, macadamia, hazelnuts, and cashews.19 Avocados lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, provide essential potassium for your heart and help decrease blood pressure, reducing the risk of stroke by 15%.20 21 22 Nuts like walnuts are a great source of fiber and micronutrients, such as magnesium, copper, and manganese. Studies show eating walnuts reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol by up to 16%, lower oxidative stress, inflammation, and diastolic blood pressure.23

Essential Omega 3 fatty acids from fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herring (SMASH), and tuna, dramatically improve heart markers. Studies show Omega 3s significantly decreases diastolic and systolic blood pressure, lowers total cholesterol, blood triglycerides, and fasting blood sugar.24 25 Plus, studies show that every 100 grams of fatty fish you ingest each week reduce one risk factor for heart disease, including blood pressure, diabetes, or obesity.

6. Phenomenal Green Tea

Green tea contains bioactive compounds that are great for the heart. Studies show statistically significant reductions in cholesterol and lower blood pressure.26 Rich in polyphenols and catechins antioxidants, it helps protect against cell damage, reducing inflammation and protecting your heart. Green tea significantly lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol and decreases systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels.27 28

Green tea

Green teaGreen tea contains bioactive compounds that are great for the heart. Studies show statistically significant reductions in cholesterol and lower blood pressure.26 Rich in polyphenols and catechins antioxidants, it helps protect against cell damage, reducing inflammation and protecting your heart. Green tea significantly lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol and decreases systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels.27 28

7. Ditch the flavored, low-fat yogurt for full-fat plain or Greek yogurt

Heads up if you thought you were doing a good thing eating flavored yogurt. Flavored, low-fat yogurt is processed and drives disease. The “fruit” in flavored yogurt has been processed. When companies remove the fat from yogurt, they also remove the flavor. To compensate, they add sugar, milk solids, and other artificial nasties that are NOT good for your health or heart. The better option is choosing plain or preferably nutrient-rich Greek yogurt and add berries, chopped fruit, cucumbers, or cinnamon. Again, let your imagination run wild. But beware of fat and sugar-laden granolas that are linked to diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

No evidence supports that the saturated fat in yogurt is harmful to your heart.29 30 Some research shows that the saturated fat from whole-milk products increases “good” HDL cholesterol, protecting your heart. Other studies show a reduction in heart disease incidence when eating yogurt regularly.31 32 33 Researchers have found that yogurt helps reduce blood pressure in people diagnosed with high blood pressure.34 35 36

Yogurt

Change isn’t always easy, and that’s why people give up before they start. However, in this case, it’s a snap, and your heart needs some true love. So, grab your grocery list, add some colorful veggies, dark berries, swap out the pastas, and reach for full-fat yogurt and green tea.

Your tastebuds will be pleasantly surprised. And your body will respond quickly to its new fuel, replenishing deficiencies of numerous cellular mechanisms and boosting sluggish systems. As a result, in a few weeks, blood pressure numbers should drop, and a sensation of well-being will soar through your body!

REFERENCES:
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  2. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/17059-how-does-blood-flow-through-your-body
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  38. https://www.getthegloss.com/article/ancient-grains-should-you-be-eating-more
  39. https://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/smart-choices/is-legume-pasta-healthy
  40. https://plantbasednews.org/lifestyle/plant-based-diet-what-are-antioxidants/
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  42. https://www.healthywomen.org/content/article/how-drink-green-tea-weight-loss
  43. https://www.soupersage.com/compare-nutrition/yogurt-vs-greek-yogurt
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