Protection of your heart should go beyond unhealthy foods in order to reduce the risk of heart disease. A healthy heart cannot be achieved without the involvement of healthy foods, nutrient-rich foods, fibre-rich foods, healthy fats, and fruits good for the heart.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), deaths due to heart disease has dropped in recent years but it is still considered as one of the most deadly diseases which kills most Americans. Heart disease has dropped in America due to lifestyle changes and awareness people have regarding healthy foods to maintain a healthy heart.
Here are the list of fruits that are good for a healthy heart:
1. Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum)
Berries like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and all other types of berries are considered healthy fruits for the heart. Berries are known to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering the bad cholesterol level and improve heart health. Blueberries are very low in saturated fats and are a good source of dietary fibre, vitamin C and vitamin K. It also contains a good amount of proteins, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese.
According to the study conducted in the year 2013, women ranging from 25 to 42 years old consuming three servings of blueberries and strawberries for a week possess a lower risk of heart attack by 32 per cent as compared to women of the same age range who ate fewer berries. To the end of their studies, authors have concluded saying it is due to the health benefits of berries like antioxidant properties which reduces blood pressure and dilates blood vessels.
2. Citrus fruits (Citrus species)
Flavonoids are a natural substance with variable polyphenolic compounds present in fruits, vegetables, and flowers which help in regulating cellular activity, fighting off free radicals, promotes a healthy heart, and it is a powerful antioxidant agent. Citrus fruits are also high in vitamin C thereby helping in boosting your immune system and lower the risk of heart disease.
Citrus fruits like oranges and grapes are rich in flavonoids and according to the study published in 2019 on beneficial effects of citrus flavonoids on cardiovascular and metabolic health by Ayman M. Mahmoud, citrus flavonoids have emerged as therapeutic for the treatment of cardiovascular disease and improve insulin sensitivity. It can also help in the inflammatory response in tissues like the liver, kidney, aorta, and adipose tissue.
3. Avocado (Persea americana)
In my previous article, I have talked about 10 health benefits of avocados and the risk associated with them. Now let’s learn more about the benefits of avocado to have good cardiovascular health and a healthy heart.
Avocado has established its reputation in the market for being beneficial for our body due to its healthy fats. It is also a very good source of dietary fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K and folate. 150 grams of raw, ripened avocado contains about 14.7 grams of monosaturated fats which are believed in lowering the bad cholesterol level (LDL), also a heart disease risk factor.
Other nutrients and minerals present in avocado include proteins, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, choline, calcium, magnesium, and fluoride. 150 grams of raw avocados contain 165mg of omega-3 fatty acids which is considered fats healthy for the heart.
Avocado is also packed with oleic acids which helps in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol level. Avocado is also considered potassium-rich fruits which are good for achieving a healthy heart.
4. Pomegranate (Punica granatum)
Consumption of pomegranate in the form of juice or raw helps in the prevention of hardening of arteries as research on heart patients have found that the daily dose of pomegranate juice for the duration of three months gained exponential improvement in the blood flow to the heart promoting a healthy heart. Pomegranate will also slow the growth of plaque and accumulation of cholesterols in the arteries.
As per nutrition data, 282 grams of raw, ripened pomegranate contains;
- Proteins – 4.7g
- Vitamin C – 28.8mg
- Alpha tocopherol – 1.7mg
- Thiamin – 0.2mg
- Riboflavin – 0.1mg
- Folate – 107mcg
- Omega-6 fatty acids – 223mg
- Water – 220g
Possible side effects of pomegranate
Consumption of an adequate amount of pomegranate juice is safe for most people. But some people who are allergic to pomegranate may develop itching, runny nose, difficulty in breathing and sometimes swelling.
5. Apples (Malus domestica)
Apples are well known for their ability to reduce cholesterol levels as well as due to prebiotic contents in protecting and maintaining a healthy heart. Prebiotic is a source of food for good bacteria staying in your gut and helps in the growth of gut bacteria.
Researchers have conducted a study with a middle-aged adult consuming one apple a day for 28 days and found that about 40 per cent of hardened arteries were reduced. According to new research, two apples a day is recommended to keep yourself away from the cardiologists and help in reducing the cholesterol level.
Apples are an energizing fruit with 52 calories content in a 100 grams serving size. It also contains polyphenols, fibres, and phytosterols which helps in lowering the cholesterol level, improves the digestive system and lowers the risk of getting any type of cancer.
6. Papaya (Carica papaya)
Papaya contains high levels of antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A which is known to help in reducing the risk of heart disease and prevents oxidation of cholesterol and promote a healthy heart.
Papaya is also packed with 53mcg of folic acids from 140 grams of raw papaya and it helps in converting amino acids called homocysteine (harmful amino acids) to less harmful amino acids. Meat products contain high levels of homocysteine and it’s a risk factor for heart disease.
Papaya also helps in digestion by the enzymes called papain and chymopapain. These two enzymes help in digesting proteins and reducing inflammation. It can also boost your immune system, thereby it can fight off bacterial and viral infections.
Possible side effects of papaya fruit
For sensitive people, it may cause severe allergic reactions and its latex can be an irritant on your skin. So, please consult your medical care provider regarding your allergic sensitivity before consuming papaya. Besides that, papaya is a wonder fruit for a healthy heart.
7. Apricot (Prunus armeniaca)
Apricot is an excellent source of antioxidants like vitamin C, beta carotene, vitamin A and vitamin E. Apricot is understood in promoting a healthy heart, lowers blood cholesterol levels, and prevents oxidation of LDL cholesterol.
According to research published in the Journal of Nutrition Research, both fresh apricot fruit and dried apricot fruit delivers the same amount of nutrients and consumption of about 2 tablespoons or 1/8 cup of dried apricot fruit daily will have a healthier diet as compared to people who eat less.
Other health benefits of apricot include improving vision, gut health, prevents from getting diabetes and acts as an antioxidant agent.
American Heart Health Awareness Month
Every year, February is celebrated as an American heart health month and everyone can focus on cardiovascular health.
During this whole month and throughout the year, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, non-profit organizations, other related agencies and the general public take part in creating heart health awareness, research, support and educate the public on the cause of heart disease.
Themes for Heart health Month
Hosting quit smoking Day
Give your heart away
Spread the word on heart related issues
Healthy Heart Tips
According to the National Health Services (NHS), a healthy lifestyle can lead to a healthy heart and to lead a healthy lifestyle, please follow the tips mentioned below.
It is obvious and everybody knows that smoking causes cancer, not exactly through scientific research but at least by media advertisements. Still, we can see people do smoke and enjoy smoking a cigarette. It is one of the main cause of an alteration of cardiovascular health.
Want to know more? Learn about health effects of cigarette smoking.
Be active physically as well as mentally
Be active and carryout moderate physical exercise in order to reduce the risk of developing heart disease and boosting your energy levels. Learn more about the difference between running, jogging, brisk walking and their health benefits.
Maintain healthy weight
Overweight is a key to get heart disease. So, maintain your weight by consuming foods low in fats, sugar-free foods, and healthy foods for a balanced diet.
If you are interested to know your healthy weight (BMI), click here.
Eat more fiber rich foods
Fibre-rich foods are nutritious and healthy for your heart as well as for maintaining your body weight. It can help you lower the risk of getting heart disease and at least aim to consume 30 grams of fibre daily.
Eager to know about fiber rich foods? Read about 16 best fiber rich foods.
Eat less saturated fats
Saturated fats can raise your cholesterol level in the blood which increases the risk of getting heart disease. Choose lean meat products, fewer fats dairy product and omega-3 fatty acids rich foods like fish for your diet.
Quit alcohol consumption or drink less
Alcohol contains calories and regular or excessive drinking can have a greater impact on your waistline. Try to quit drinking alcohol or if you are can’t quit immediately, try drinking less alcohol daily.
Signs of an unhealthy heart
There are certain symptoms you should not ignore and these are listed below.
- Discomfort on the chest
- Nausea, indigestion, heartburn, or stomach pain
- Pain spreading towards the arm
- Feeling dizzy and lightheaded
- Throat and jaw pain
- Getting exhausted easily
- Swollen legs, feet and ankles
- Irregular heartbeat
Simple ways to monitor your heart health
This is just a simple step where your doctors listen to your heart rate using a stethoscope, checks your blood pressure and sometimes do a blood sample test.
Your heartbeat rate will tell how fast your heart beats and is it regular or not.
In order to measure pulse by yourself without using any types of equipment;
- Bring your watch.
- Place the index and middle finger on the wrist of the other arm to the base of your thumb and feel the pulsing against your finger.
- Count the number of taps you feel in a minute.
Check your blood pressure regularly to monitor the risk of heart disease and stroke. For a human being, a systolic pressure of less than 120 and a diastolic pressure of less than 80 (120/80) is considered normal blood pressure.
Thanks for reading this article. I hope this piece of my writing could have added an additional knowledge to you.