Heart-Healthy foods

Some  foods are loaded with heart-healthy nutrients that help protect your cardiovascular system.


Phytoestrogens are substances in plants (like flaxseed) that have a weak estrogen-like action in the body. Studies suggest that flaxseed lowers the risk of blood clots, stroke, and cardiac arrhythmias. It may also help lower total and LDL “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides, and even blood pressure.

Phytosterols are plant sterols that chemically resemble cholesterol — and seem to reduce blood cholesterol. All nuts and seeds, including wheat germ, have phytosterols.

Carotenoids are heart-protective antioxidants in many colorful fruits and veggies. Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene are carotenoids.

Polyphenols are another set of antioxidants that protect blood vessels, lower blood pressure, reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol. Flavonoid polyphenols include catechins, flavonones, flavonols, isoflavones, reservatrol, and anthocyanins. Non-flavonoid polyphenols include ellagic acid (found in all types of berries).

Omega-3 fatty acids (found in fatty fish like salmon) and alpha-linolenic fatty acids (found in plant foods like walnuts) help boost the immune system, reduce blood clots, and protect against heart attacks. They also increase good HDL levels, lower triglyceride levels, protect arteries from plaque buildup, are anti-inflammatories, and lower blood pressure.

B-complex vitamins — like Vitamin B-12 (folate) and vitamin B-6 — protect against blood clots and atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Niacin (vitamin B-3) helps increase HDL “good” cholesterol.

Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that protect cells from free radical damage.Magnesium, potassium, and calcium help lower blood pressure. Fiber-rich foods help lower cholesterol levels.

Fatty fish

Wild  salmon , tuna, sardines..

Flaxseed (ground), chia seeds (sprouted)

Omega-3 fatty acids; fiber, phytoestrogens.

Oatmeal

Omega-3 fatty acids; magnesium; potassium; folate; niacin; calcium; soluble fiber, and beta glucan responsible for lowering cholesterol

Black or Kidney Beans, lentils

B-complex vitamins; niacin; folate; magnesium; omega-3 fatty acids; calcium; soluble fiber.

Roasted almonds

New studies show that roasted contains more anti-oxidants than raw.

Plant omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin E; magnesium; fiber; heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats; phytosterols.

Walnuts

Plant omega-3 fatty acids; vitamin E; magnesium; folate; fiber; heart-favorable mono- and polyunsaturated fats; phytosterols.

Red wine

Rich in anti-oxidants and polyphenol like quercitin, tannin, or resveratrol (flavanoid)

A glass of red wine could improve “good” HDL cholesterol.

Organic tofu

Rich in protein, good for vegetarian, Niacin; folate; calcium; magnesium; potassium.

Brown rice

B-complex vitamins; fiber; niacin; magnesium, fiber.

Organic Soy milk and organic soy protein non isolate

Isoflavones (a flavonoid); B-complex vitamins; niacin; folate, calcium; magnesium; potassium; phytoestrogens.

Berries, apple, pommegranate

Beta-carotene and lutein (carotenoids); anthocyanin (a flavonoid); ellagic acid (a polyphenol); vitamin C; folate; calcium, magnesium; potassium; fiber.

Cranberries, strawberries, raspberries …

Carrots, spinach, broccoli,sweet potato, asparagus…

Alpha-carotene (a carotenoid); fiber, lutein (a carotenoid); B-complex vitamins; folate; magnesium; potassium; calcium;

Beta-carotene (a carotenoid); Vitamins A,C and E.

As a personal trainer, and nutrition consultant, I highly recommend this food, not only for a weight loss program, but also to remain healthy.

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