Along with exercise, a healthy diet is one of the biggest contributors to a healthy heart. Cardiovascular exercise may help to keep your heart healthy, but what types of food should we be eating to keep our arteries clear and our hearts pumping?
Fill up on black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans and lentils. They’re rich in omega-3 acids, soluble fibre, B vitamins and are low GI. A cup a day (190g) is linked to lower blood pressure. Try them in stews, salads and curries.
The cacao in dark chocolate contains polyphenols, which lower inflammation and artery plaque, and flavonoids, which lower blood pressure. The bad news? Just 6.3 g (half a square) of chocolate makes a difference. After that it’s simply indulgence!
Wine contains resveratrol, an antioxidant which many people consider to be heart healthy due to its protective effect on blood vessels. However, the British Heart Foundation is still undecided and some recent studies suggest no benefits can be gained from drinking red wine. If the experts can’t agree, you need to make up your own mind!
Oats are rich in soluble fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, folate and potassium, helping to lower cholesterol, keep arteries clear and lower blood pressure. The evidence is so compelling even the NHS recommends eating oats to protect your heart.
No fish contains more of the heart-healthy omega-3s than salmon. The FSA recommends two 140g portions per week to reap the many cardiovascular benefits including more relaxed arteries, reduced inflammation and lowered blood pressure.
Walnuts, almonds and other nuts are full of unsaturated fat which lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. They also help relax blood vessels and support blood flow to the heart. Between one and five portions of unsalted nuts each week is enough to significantly reduce your risk of heart disease.
Add regular exercise to the menu and you’ll heart will thank you for years to come. Isn’t it worth the effort?
now that sounds an unusual combination! Never got on too well with carob but perhaps time for another try.
May I recommend blackbean brownies made with carob? Very heart healthy and delicious too.
most food is processed in some way - including chocolate, sadly. Our job is to eat things with short lists of ingredients. Wine, porridge and nuts tick the boxes!
Had lentil curry last night, followed by wine and chocolate in the evening. With a little more work I could eat all these in one day!
All these are whole goods. The message is pretty simple really - just avoid processed foods.
I'm adding more dark chocolate to my shopping trolley this week. Any excuse to have an extra bit of choc!
great minds think alike. Dream menu!
We're all very pleased to see chocolate on this list aren't we!
Perhaps it's the quantity of red wine drunk that negates the positive effect on your heart.. Drink in moderation and it's prob good for you. Drink a bottle and you're doing yourself more harm than good