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Healthy Food for a Healthy Heart

A older couple eating at a table together.

Regularly consuming healthy foods is essential for the health of the human body. There are many foods available that contain several important vitamins and minerals that can help maintain the health of the organs in the body. You already know eating a balanced diet is important, so today we will be sharing the various foods that can help promote the health and function of the heart – one of the most vital organs in the body.

Leafy Green Vegetables – Spinach, kale and collard greens are great examples of foods that should be added to your diet. They are filled with several beneficial nutrients and antioxidants including vitamin K. This specific vitamin may be able to help protect your arteries and promote proper clotting of the blood. Studies have shown that higher intake of leafy greens is associated with a lower risk of developing heart disease.

Avocados – These delicious fruits are filled with high amounts of monounsaturated fats and potassium. This type of nutritious profile may help promote the health of the heart by lowering cholesterol levels, blood pressure and the risk of metabolic syndrome.

Tomatoes – The skin of the tomatoes is loaded with a natural plant pigment called lycopene. Due to the powerful antioxidant properties of lycopene, tomatoes may help lower the risk of heart disease and stroke while raising levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.

Garlic – For centuries, garlic has been an ancient remedy to help cure many ailments in the body. The potent medicinal properties can help improve heart function by reducing blood pressure and cholesterol and preventing the formation of blood clots. Plus, allicin is present in garlic which has various therapeutic effects.

Berries – Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are filled with antioxidants and important nutrients that play a central role in heart health. Studies show that consuming berries every day may help reduce multiple risk factors of heart disease and also improve brain function.

Whole Grains – Studies have shown that refined carbohydrates can cause an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease in life. Swapping out regular pasta, white rice and white bread for whole grain pasta, brown rice and whole grain bread can benefit the heart by lowering cholesterol, systolic blood pressure as well as lower the risk of heart disease. Examples of whole grains include: quinoa, brown rice, oats, barley, buckwheat and whole wheat.

Fatty Fish & Fish Oils – Indulging in fatty fish like salmon, tuna and sardines can benefit the body by helping to control blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol levels due to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish consumption has been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, depression and mortality. If you don’t enjoy eating fish, you can still get all the benefits from fish oil supplements.

Beans – There are several types of beans that are high in a resistant starch which helps benefit the bacteria in your gut such as the pinto bean, soybean and black beans. Beans have been shown to reduce levels of triglycerides and cholesterol while lowering blood pressure and alleviating inflammation in the body.

Walnuts – Studies suggest that regularly eating a handful of walnuts a day can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels which will help reduce the risk of developing heart disease and improve brain health.

Almonds – Filled with a lot of heart healthy nutrients, almonds may help fight against heart disease due to the high levels of fiber and monounsaturated fats. They may be able to help reduce cholesterol as well as burn stubborn belly fat.

Seeds – Chia seeds, flax seeds and hemp seeds are great sources of heart-healthy nutrients. They are rich in both omega-3 fatty acids and fiber which may help improve blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol while fighting inflammation within the body.

Dark Chocolate – Abundant with antioxidants which can boost heart health, dark chocolate is not only delicious but has been associated with lowering the risk of calcified plaque in arteries and heart disease. Consuming chocolate in moderation can also reduce your risk of stroke and diabetes and improve blood flow to the brain..

Olive Oil – Rich in anti-inflammatory properties and vitamin E, olive oil can help prevent respiratory conditions like asthma. The Mediterranean diet, which contains copious amounts of olive oil, has benefited the lung function of smokers as well as people with COPD and asthma.

Green Tea – Enjoying a cup of freshly brewed green tea comes with many heart-healthy benefits. Green tea is high in both polyphenols and catechins which may help protect the function of the heart by reducing inflammation and lowering cholesterol, blood pressure and triglycerides.

Learning new information everyday can be a little overwhelming, especially if you want to incorporate these life-changing tips into your routine immediately. Don’t stress, begin small and integrate a few of these ingredients into your daily diet and I am sure not only your heart but the rest of your body and mind will thank you. As new evidence continues to emerge about the influence your diet has on the rest of your body, remember you can never go wrong with eating a healthy balanced diet.


If you enjoyed reading this senior lifestyle article, check out more: here! Or, discover healthy and tasty recipes: here!

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