Heart Healthy Foods

by Editorial Team October 15th, 2006 | Diet, Nutrition
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Certain foods help to keep hearts healthy. Many of the foods traditionally found in the Mediterranean style diet of France, Greece and Italy boost the body’s levels of anti-inflammatory compounds. This is an easy diet to adhere to. The diet includes lots of fish, olive oil, whole grains, vegetable and fruits. Fish, especially fatty fish like salmon, trout and tuna are good sources of the omega-3 fatty acids, which actually help dissolve blood clots. Fish oils also block several inflammation promoting compounds. If you do not eat these fish, be sure to take omega-3 supplements.

Whole grains help lower blood cholesterol. Eat brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, barley, and whole grain breads. Beans, especially black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo and kidney beans are high in folate, which reduces the risk of heart disease. Nuts are high in fat, but it is the “good fat” similar to the omega-3 fatty acid of salmon. ½ cup of walnuts has as much omega-3 as 3 oz. of salmon.

Olive oil reduces the molecules that promote inflammation. It is also rich in omega-9 fatty acid, which lowers the total and the bad cholesterol. It is rich in vitamin E and acts as an antioxidant, stopping damage to arterial walls.

Garlic is an antioxidant as well. The sulfur in garlic makes the platelets slippery and less likely to stick together and then form clots, which can cause a stroke or heart attack.

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.