The top 7 heart-healthy foods

By Louise Belle BHSc (Nut Med)

Your heart is a very important organ- you need it to live! This is why it is so vital that you take care of your heart. As we age, the risks of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease increase, and come with their own health complications. You should make the conscious effort to include the right foods in your diet, as the food you eat can play a role in the health of your heart. Here are the top foods for a healthy heart:

1. Salmon

Salmon is rich in EPA and DHA omega 3 fatty acids (the good fats), which increase the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and decrease the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. Salmon also has potent anti-inflammatory properties, and makes platelets less sticky, reducing the risk of blood clots.

2. Psyllium husk

This is a form of soluble fibre, that absorbs water, toxins and other material, forming a gel-like substance. Psyllium husk can help to naturally reduce cholesterol levels by binding to excess cholesterol and removing it via the bowels. Psyllium husk is the main ingredient in Fibretone.

3. Kiwi fruit

These wonderful green fleshy fruits are rich in vitamin C, and can reduce inflammation and oxidative damage in the body; these are risk factors for heart disease. Vitamin C is required by the body to build collagen, which helps to keep the arteries strong and flexible.

4. Leafy greens

Spinach, kale, collard greens, Bok choy and other leafy green vegetables are a great source of magnesium, which helps to reduce stress; a risk factor for high blood pressure. They are also high in antioxidants, helping to reduce cell damage.

5. Blueberries

Research has found that these beautiful little berries contain a compound called pterostilbene, which can effectively lower LDL cholesterol in comparison to the cholesterol-lowering drug; Ciprofibrate. They are also high in fibre, and collagen-building vitamin C.

6. Walnuts

These brain-shaped nuts are rich in antioxidants and ALA omega 3 fatty acids. They not only help with keeping inflammation at bay, but help to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol, and maintain healthy blood pressure.

7. Garlic

Both smelly and delicious, garlic can actually thin the blood, helping to naturally lower blood pressure, and promote healthy cholesterol levels. Garlic is also a potent antibacterial and antimicrobial substance, that fights off infection and inflammation that could contribute to heart disease.

See Dr Cabot’s book Cholesterol The Real Truth, for more information on how to naturally lower cholesterol and improve your heart health. If you are overweight, you would benefit from reading I Can’t Lose Weight and I Don’t Know Why, which provides a 12-week metabolic weight loss plan.

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