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Six Foods for a Healthy Heart (Part 2)

By on Oct 20, 2012

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Continuing from Part 1 of foods for a healthy heart, the following foods have also been found to be beneficial in maintaining a healthy heart and improving general health. All of these foods can easily be incorporated into your regular diet. You may even be pleasantly surprised by some of the recommended foods!

Beans, lentils and pulses are very important foods for general health. These have a low Glycemic Index (GI). Beans, lentils and pulses are absorbed and digested slowly, and release glucose steadily.The low GI factor is very important in maintain a healthy weight, as it prevents binge eating and constant snacking between meals.

These foods have also been reported to lower cholesterol levels. Chick peas, kidney beans, mung beans and soya beans are a good source of fibre and help to maintain a healthy digestive system.  Diets high in fibre are related to a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease.

Beans are generally a good source of B vitamins, zinc, calcium and potassium, and are naturally low in fat. All of these properties make beans and lentils an ideal food for a healthy cardiovascular system.

Garlic is well known as food that benefits the heart and circulation. If you don’t like garlic, there are many vitamin companies that make garlic tablets for maintaining a healthy heart. The active ingredient of garlic is allicin. When purchasing a supplement, make sure to choose a brand that has good levels of allicin.

For those who like garlic, you can incorporate it into most meals, with the added benefit of boosting your overall health. Garlic can help lower cardiovascular risk by thinning blood and improving circulation. Garlic has cholesterol lowering properties, which can also prevent heart disease. Both of these properties help to maintain healthy arteries and prevent atherosclerosis which can help to prevent high blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke.

Foods for a healthy heart include omega 3 fish oil supplementsOily fish are a rich source of omega 3 essential fatty acids. These essential oils are essential for a healthy heart and help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Oily fish can help to lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which can lead to improved overall cardiovascular function.  Omega 3 oils are also important for circulation and a healthy nervous system.

Dark chocolate is surprisingly good for (if eaten in moderation).  You should aim to eat dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% cocoa solids. A few studies have found that cocoa decreased blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Cocoa was also found to strengthen blood vessels. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidant polyphenols, which help to negate the damage of free radicals. Free radicals have been related to cardiovascular damage.

It is worth noting that you do not need to eat a lot of chocolate to reap these benefits. A couple of squares a day are enough to help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.