The heart wants what it wants – goes the famous adage by Emily Dickinson. And it also wants a longer, healthier life. Healthy food can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases in the body. It is important to eat the right amount of fruits and vegetables which are rich in nutrients to keep your heart healthy.
Remember, your heart will thank you later for this. “While heart health is often associated with low-fat foods, this trend of low fat and fat-free has been one of the biggest contributors to the worsening of heart health globally. It is important to remember that heart health depends on a balance of healthy fats and cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol balances and reduces low-density lipoprotein ( LDL) or unhealthy cholesterol. Removing all fat and cholesterol from the diet gives a chance for the LDL to rise as it can be manufactured in the body even from your carbs or sugars,” suggests nutritionist Shikha Mahajan.
Cardiologist doctor Mohsin Wali adds that we should be knowing about the nutrients that we take daily to help us understand what is good and what is not for the heart. “ Our daily diet has so many of these nutrients which are good for our heart and by having it regularly, we can live a longer life,” he says.
Here are some nutrients and minerals that we can find in our daily diet that can keep our heart safe and also help in proper blood circulation in veins and arteries.
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C manages high blood pressure which is known to increase the risk of heart diseases. It’s found in many fruits and vegetables including orange, kiwi, lemon, Guava, grapefruit, broccolli, cauliflower, capsicum and brussels. “Oranges and grapefruits have good amounts of the flavonoids that almost 19% reduces the risk of ischemic stroke (caused by a clot). Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, which has been linked with a lower risk of heart disease. Do not drink citrus juices that contain added sugar, “ suggests nutritionist Avni Kaul.
2. Vitamin K
It prevents the calcification of blood vessels and activates protein. Vitamin K is found in kale, turnip, collards, mustard green, parsley, romaine, brussels, sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, fish liver, meat, eggs, kiwi, avocado, blackberries and pomegranate
It affects the heart’s ability to deal with oxidative stress. Zinc-rich food are found in meat, shellfish, legumes, seeds, nuts, dairy, eggs, whole grain
They are flavonoid or plant pigments present in fruits and vegetables. It has antioxidant effects on cardiovascular diseases. It improves blood vessel cell health and blood flow throw arteries. Quercetin is found in red and white onion, cooked asparagus, cherries, red apples, red grapes, broccoli, kale, red leaf lettuce, green and black tea.
It reduces oxidative damage to tissues in the heart. It also increases nitric oxide production which helps the veins to dilate and improve blood flow. N-Acetylcysteine are found in chicken, turkey, yogurt, cheese, eggs, legumes and sunflower seeds.
It plays an important role in the electrical activity and pumping function of the heart. Calcium particles are known for entering the heart’s muscle cells and contribute to electric signals that coordinate the functions of the heart. For calcium-rich food that’s good for your heart, you should eat cheese, yogurt, milk, soybean, tofu, nuts, milk bread and fish.
It’s known for preventing heart failure. Melatonin is found in fish, eggs, berries, walnuts, pineapple, bananas and oranges.
Low selenium concentration can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. So to avoid this, one has to take a diet that is rich in selenium. It defends your body from chronic conditions. Consume poultry eggs, legumes, nuts, soy, and seafood to increase the concentration of selenium in the body.