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Foods for Heart Health

February 16, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 151

A strong heart is very important to your overall health. The heart is an organ that is also an amazing muscle. It is the source of life and provides oxygen to the body. It acts as a pump that provides blood to the body by adjusting the flow and pressure of blood volume. The leading cause of death in the U.S is heart disease. 40% of deaths of people between the ages of 65 and 74 are from heart disease. Heart disease costs the government over 300 billion annually.

The heart can beat over 100,000 times per day. It can pump upwards of 1800 gallons of blood through the blood vessels, which if stretched can exceed 60,000 miles. Those are truly astounding facts about the miraculous job that our heart does for us on a daily basis. As we get older, our heart will compensate by adjusting to age. It will compensate for arterial plaque buildup by working harder to get the blood through vessels that are now narrower than when we were younger. This extra work on the heart's behalf can have serious health effects. For instance it can raise blood pressure. However, by doing so, we become more susceptible to heart problems as well as other diseases. There are certain foods that are very helpful to good heart health. We need to eat the right foods to protect this precious organ in order to allow it to operate at its peak efficiency

Foods for heart health: There are foods that are very healthy to incorporate into your diet to protect the health of your heart. Always strive to eat whole foods and avoid eating processed foods as much as possible. When shopping in the grocery store, a good rule of thumb is to shop the outer aisles. These are the areas that have fresh produce, meats and seafood. The inner aisles of the store stock all of the canned and processed food items.

Berries: Berries are very heart healthy. Blueberries particularly are so. Dark blue colored fruits contain the antioxidant known as "anthocyanin", which is very good for the cardiovascular system. Additionally, blueberries contain vitamin c and fiber.

Cayenne Pepper: This powerful herb contains capsaicin. It has been referred to as the "king of herbs" as it has numerous health benefits. It is a source of vitamin A. Cayenne pepper is beneficial to your heart because it can increase blood flow. Increased blood flow can help keep your blood pressure levels normal which will protect your heart from damage. Some research has been conducted suggesting that cayenne may also reduce cholesterol levels as well as decrease inflammation. Inflammation is very dangerous because it can cause arterial plaque buildup. You can enjoy cayenne pepper as a flavorful spice in many dishes and.

Oats: Oats are a nutritious and delicious way to start the day. They are high in fiber as well as vitamins and minerals. They are also high in omega-3 fatty acids. Oats have been shown to lower bad cholesterol or LDL levels and help keep heart arteries clear. A great heart healthy breakfast could be a bowl of hot oatmeal with blueberries or bananas. Always try to eat the steel cut variety of oats over any instant oats as they have more fiber.

Spinach: One of the most nutritious of all the green vegetables, spinach has a good reputation for heart health. Spinach is rich in vitamins and minerals including, folate, nitrate, calcium and potassium. More importantly it contains CoQ10 which is vital for the health of the heart as well as the muscles of the human body. Spinach is one of only two plants that actually contain CoQ10.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are very important to heart health. There is much discussion on the importance of fruits and vegetables to overall health. Omega-3 fatty acids hold their own vital place to the health of the heart. They are a polyunsaturated fat that can help reduce triglycerides as well as lower blood pressure. They help to increase the good cholesterol levels, known as HDL and have anti-inflammatory benefits as well. Some of the best sources come from cold water fish such as salmon and tuna. There are also plant based oils such as flaxseed and canola that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. You should aim for 2-3 servings of cold water fish weekly for the heart health benefits. Salmon: This is an ideal fish in so many ways. Fatty fish such as salmon will help strengthen your immune system with all of its heart healthy benefits.

Clearly the health of your heart is extremely important. You have many choices when it comes to your diet and nutrition. By choosing wisely and eating foods that are nutritious and heart friendly you can reduce your risk of heart disease. Remember whenever beginning any dietary or lifestyle changes, always consult with a medical professional, particularly if you are taking prescription drugs or suffer from any disease or ailment.

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By Tina C. Loren

Source: EzineArticles
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