20 Top Heart-Healthy & Weight-Loss Friendly Foods
Statistics show that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of Americans, primarily by way of strokes and heart attacks. But achieving and maintaining a healthy weight can help you avoid the ravages of heart conditions. And many of the foods that are weight-loss friendly also are heart-healthy. Here are 20 top options for whittling your waist and protecting your heart.
- Salmon: Omega-3 fatty acidslower the risk of arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) and atherosclerosis (plaque build-up in the arteries) and decrease triglycerides.
- Oatmeal: High in soluble fiber, which can lower cholesterol.
- Blueberries: Rich in anthocyanins, antioxidant flavonoids that may decrease blood pressure and dilate blood vessels.
- Citrus fruits: Frequent consumption can lower risk of ischemic stroke (caused by blood clots) by nearly 20 percent. Plus, vitamin C is linked with a lower risk of heart disease.
- Soy: Soy products are high in polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and can help decrease levels of bad cholesterol.
- Potatoes: Rich in potassium, which can help lower blood pressure, and high in fiber, which can lower the risk for heart disease.
- Tomatoes: High in heart-healthy potassium and rich in the antioxidant lycopene, a carotenoid that may help rid the body of bad cholesterol and keep blood vessels open.
- Nuts: High in heart-healthy fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E, which helps lower bad cholesterol.
- Legumes: An excellent source of protein without a lot of unhealthy fat and may help control blood sugar.
- Extra-virgin olive oil: A good source of monounsaturated fats, which can help reduce both cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
- Red wine: When enjoyed in small amounts, red wine antioxidants can increase levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol) and protect against artery damage.
- Green tea: Four or more cups a day can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke by 20 percent.
- Broccoli: High in fiber, vitamins, minerals and carotenoids, which act as antioxidants and free your body of potentially harmful compounds.
- Spinach: All the same benefits as broccoli offers.
- Kale: Ditto on the broccoli and spinach benefits, plus the added benefit of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Cocoa: Contains flavonoids called polyphenols, which may help blood pressure, clotting and inflammation.
- Coffee: Moderate consumption (two cups a day) can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke by 30 percent.
- Flax seeds: High in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Avocado: Rich in monounsaturated fats, antioxidants and potassium, the key factor that enables your heart to beat.
- Pomegranate: Contains numerous antioxidants, including heart-promoting polyphenols and anthocyanins which may help stave off hardening of the arteries.
For more help losing weight, visit the Metabolic Research Center nearest you. Our weight loss specialists will tailor a healthy menu based on your unique needs and lifestyle.
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