How do you choose the food you eat: do you care more about its taste, how fast it is available, or its nutritional value and health benefits? It is understandable why you would choose tasty foods about fade ones and it goes without saying that you sometimes can’t cook or waste time shopping for healthy foods.
However, the food you eat determines what goes on inside your body. How much energy you obtain, how much fat your body stores, how many vitamins, minerals, and other valuable nutrients it receives.
Obesity, allergies, and even some forms of cancer are related to poor eating habits. Heart diseases, especially heart attacks, are also linked to unhealthy food. The food you put into your mouth opens or closes the door to diseases.
It paralyzes your body and leaves it vulnerable to germs, bacteria, and viruses, or it enables it to fight with even the most dangerous pathogens. Otherwise put, you define your health with the food choices you make. With this in mind, perhaps it is time to reconsider your relationship with food.
Bring Back Harmony in Your Relationship with Food – Your Heart Will Thank You!
There are far more times than you can or care to remember when you resorted to comfort food. On days when you feel down, a little depressed, tired, or simply in the mood for something sweet or fatty, you tend to give in to your little whim.
This happens because you programmed your brain to associate certain textures and tastes with the sense of feeling good. When doing so, your brain forgets the impact those foods have on your health.
Have you ever considered how all that sugar impacts your blood flow? Did you ever take the time to think how all those fat deposits suffocate your internal organs and lineup your blood vessels, narrowing them and reducing their flexibility?
According to Mayo Clinic, heart attacks occur when a fat or cholesterol build-up blocks blood flow to the heart. The blockage and blood flow interruption usually damages or destroys part of the heart muscle.
This should be a valid reason to reprogram your brain to love healthy foods and to learn to cook and combine those foods in such a way as to obtain the taste you love and, at the same time, prevent heart attacks and other health complications.
If you’re not sure what foods will protect your heart and help prevent that heart attack, we’ve put together a list of ten. Feel free to add your own foods to it, as you discover their beneficial properties, by leaving a comment below!
10 Foods That Will Help You Avoid a Heart Attack
Salmon is one of the tastiest types of fish. You can cook it or serve it as finger food when it is smoked. Its soft texture and rich taste make it the favorite food for millions of people across the globe. For Northern Europe nations like Norway, Iceland, or Finland, salmon is a sort of national food used in an incredibly wide variety of dishes.
Why is salmon on our list? Because it is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which have three key benefits:
- They reduce the risk of arrhythmia (when the heart beats in an irregular manner);
- They reduce the risk of plaque build-up in arteries, known as atherosclerosis;
- They decrease the level of triglycerides in your blood.
The American Heart Association encourages everyone to include fatty fish in their diet as a first step in the prevention of heart diseases. While Omega-3 supplements can be freely bought over the counter, it is more beneficial to obtain this precious acid from food. Just choose your sources carefully, and look for wild, not mass-produced salmon.
2. Whole Grains
Unlike refined flour and bakery products, whole grain bread and pasta are a rich source of fiber and nutrients which, according to the Mayo Clinic, help regulate your blood pressure and keep your heart healthy.
It is not difficult to make the switch from white flour to whole grain flour. There is a healthy counterpart for all your favorite bread and bakery products, including high-fiber cereals for breakfast, whole grain bread and pasta, and even whole grain rice (brown or wild rice).
Tasty, refreshing and versatile ingredients for many dishes, tomatoes also help keep your heart healthier for a long time. The Cleveland Clinic explains that tomatoes are rich in:
- Vitamin C
All these substances fight free radicals and cholesterol and boost your immunity. If you cannot find fresh tomatoes all year round, the sun-dried variety preserves all the qualities and substances presented above.
4. Dark Chocolate
You didn’t expect a decadent dessert like chocolate to be listed as a healthy food for your heart, did you? However, this is the truth. The BMJ, a peer-reviewed medical journal, published a study which clearly demonstrates that dark chocolate is recommended for people with high risk of cardiovascular disease.
How does it work? Dark chocolate contains polyphenols, which regulate blood pressure, reduce the formation of blood clots, and alleviate inflammation. Attention! The only type of chocolate which qualifies in this category is the one which contains at least 70% pure cocoa.
Milk chocolate and chocolate with various cream fillings DO NOT meet the criteria above and are not very healthy for you. If you prefer combinations, consider melting the chocolate and dipping some strawberries or walnuts in it!
Broccoli may not be on your list of favorite foods, but it will make the list once you learn that it is packed with valuable substances and nutrients which help fight heart disease. These substances are:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
According to the Cleveland Clinic, this is the perfect mix to keep your heart beating for years, without the risk of heart attack.
Beans, peas, and lentils help appease your hunger and offer you all the proteins you need while being low in unhealthy fats. Also, these legumes can also help you fight potential heart diseases. The trick is to stick to healthy cooking methods.
According to a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, people who include beans, lentils or peas in their diet at least four times per week lower their risk of heart disease by 22%. These legumes are also recommended for people suffering from diabetes because they help lower the sugar level in blood.
Thus, sufferers of diabetes can prevent several complications associated with their condition, including heart disease.
7. Red Wine
Believe it or not, drinking one, maximum two glasses of red wine a day is good for your health. Cleveland Clinic recommends a 4-ounce glass per day for women and two glasses for men improve the level of “good” cholesterol – HDL (high-density cholesterol).
This type of cholesterol removes “bad” cholesterol – LDL (low-density cholesterol) from your blood and prevents it from building up in your arteries. Thus, HDL protects you from heart disease, especially atherosclerosis. If you haven’t done it already, raise that glass of red wine and hold a toast to your health!
8. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
This type of oil is obtained by placing freshly gathered olives in a mechanical press. Cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which reduce cholesterol and sugar levels in your blood. It makes a wonderful base for salad dressings.
A study conducted in 2013 and published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that people who adopt a Mediterranean diet (rich in olive oil, whole grains and fresh fruit and vegetables) have a 30% lower risk of stroke and heart attack.
9. Citrus Fruits
Oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, and lemon belong to the family of citrus fruits. You probably love at least one of these fruits. The good news is that these refreshing, delicious fruits can be your best allies in fighting heart attacks.
Rich in vitamin C and flavonoids, citrus fruits help women reduce the risk of ischemic strokes caused by blood clots by 19%, according to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Otherwise put, a glass of freshly squeezed citrus fruits juice over breakfast is a great way to boost your health and your energy levels.
Vegetarians and vegans use soy to replace many types of foods, from meat to cheese and milk. But you should include soy in your diet even if you are not a vegetarian. Here is the reason why: a study indicated that soy helps reduce blood pressure and “bad”, low-density cholesterol. It is also delicious, affordable, and satiating.
Remember: a balanced diet and a regular physical exercise regimen will help you live longer and healthier. It is in your power to prevent heart attacks by opting for healthy foods! Now you also know from which healthy foods to start your quest. There are many more out there, just as beneficial. Keep looking for ways to boost your health and, as you find them, don’t hesitate to share them with us and our readers in a comment!
I am a simple, optimistic, and straightforward wife and mother, lucky enough to be making a living doing what I love – reading and writing.
I have a MS degree in Sociology, and extensive training in Marketing, Human Resources Management, Work Health and Safety, Finances, and Quality Management. I am also a member of the International Association of Professional Writers & Editors.
I have extensive experience in sales, marketing, project management, event planning, and financial counseling. Writing has been my lifelong passion and a profession for the past decade. I wrote thousands of articles for agencies like 101Content, WriterBay, and Express Writers LLC, several eBooks, and hundreds of product reviews.
My education, thirst for knowledge, and professional and life experience make me a self-taught expert on health, weight loss, relationships, pregnancy, motherhood, and lifestyle.