You know that healthy eating (and exercising) is an important part of looking after your heart. But, you may be surprised how easy it is.
For example, there’s no need to obsess over individual foods. No single “magic” food can prevent heart disease. But, there are plenty of foods that, as part of your healthy diet, may keep your heart healthy.
Adding these three delicious ingredients may already make a difference to your heart health.
STRAWBERRIES AND BLUEBERRIES
As part of your breakfast or as a snack, eating berries may reduce your risk of a heart attack, according to a study published in the journal Circulation.
The researchers of this study gathered the data of 93,600 women. During 18 years, they asked them to fill in a questionnaire about how often they eat various kinds of food. Plus, they asked about their medical history.
The research team found that eating a lot of berries was associated with a significantly lower risk of a heart attack. In fact, the women who ate three or more servings a week were 34 percent less likely to have a heart attack.
Strawberries and blueberries contain a high amount of anthocyanins. The researchers suggested it may be their great antioxidant activity that keeps your heart healthy.
You probably don’t need another excuse to have some chocolate. But, in case you do. Here’s a good one: eating some dark chocolate may lower your risk of heart failure.
Several studies have now reported that chocolate may keep your heart healthy. One of these studies was published in the European Journal of Heart Failure.
For three years, the researchers from the Harvard Medical School followed about 20,000 people. Every year, they asked them how much chocolate they would usually eat. Plus, they asked about their health, whether they smoked, exercised, or drank alcohol.
The good news is that they found that the people who ate some chocolate once a week had a lower risk of heart failure.
Scientists aren’t exactly sure what it is about chocolate that keeps your heart healthy. But, they do suggest it may be the flavonoids in cacao. These antioxidants may lower your heart failure risk by reducing your blood pressure.
So, the higher the cacao content, the more flavonoids, the better it is for your heart health. Your best bet may be chocolate with 70 percent cacao or more.
FRUITS AND VEGGIES
No, it’s not a myth. Eating many and different types of fruit and vegetables may reduce your risk of heart disease later in life.
In an American study, researchers asked about 2500 people how many and what kind of fruits and vegetables they would normally eat. Twenty years later, they asked them these questions again. They also took computed tomography (CT) scans of their heart to look for any signs of cardiovascular disease.
They found that people who ate high amounts of fruit and vegetables every day had a significantly lower risk of developing heart disease later in life.
So, how much exactly should you eat? Well, eating at least five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit every day may keep your heart healthy.
This may sound like a lot to eat every day. But, don’t worry. All kinds of fruits and vegetables count to your daily amount: raw, cooked, fresh, frozen, canned and dried.
What are your favourite foods to keep your heart healthy?
Feel free to share in the comments below.