Other than the usual wholegrains and olive oil, here are some other interesting foods that are beneficial to the heart.
Drinking a little red wine may be a heart healthy choice. The 2 antioxidants in red wine, resveratrol and catechins, show protective functions on the artery walls. It may help to increase good cholesterol, HDL. However, drinking too much alcohol may create more harm than good to the body. Do not have more than 1 drink a day for women and 2 drinks a day for men.
A type of immature soybean found in Japanese cuisine, it is known to be a good source of protein and fiber. In 100g of edamame, there are up to 360mg of omega-3 fatty acids. Edamame is high in soy isoflavones, a type of antioxidant flavonoid that help bad lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health. You may like to try it as a snack for its nutritional punch.
Dark chocolate products are derived from cacao seeds, where it is known to have high antioxidant content. Flavonols in chocolate may help to decrease blood pressure, LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol. Not to worry if you are afraid of the bitter aftertaste, have a try for at least 70% cocoa for a start. In moderation, dark chocolate brings benefits to the heart.
One of the fattiest fruits, 77% of the calories from avocado are from fat. The main fat component is oleic acid. This monounsaturated fat is highly linked to inflammation reduction. Various established studies have shown that eating avocado can improve heart disease risk by increasing good cholesterol (HDL) levels. With their high fat content, it can also help to absorb fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, and K. Its creamy texture goes perfectly well with salad or as a basic spread on the bread.
Chia seeds, flaxseeds and hemp seeds are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fibre. Numerous studies have found that adding these types of seeds to your diet can improve many heart disease risk factors, including inflammation, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides. Very highly priced for its nutritional value, hemp seeds are considered to be a superfood. They are high in arginine, an amino acid that has been linked with reduced blood levels of certain inflammatory markers. You may like to add these seeds in your smoothie or salad.
Examples of fatty fish are salmon, mackerel, sardine and tuna. They contain high amount of Omega-3 fatty acids that is known to bring benefits to the heart. Consumption on a regular basis can help to slow plaque buildup in the arteries. Try to consume at least 2 servings of fish per week.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Spinach, Kang Kong, Xiao Bai Cai (Bok Choy) are some commonly found green leafy vegetables in Singapore. They are rich in potassium and magnesium that help to control blood pressure. These vegetables are also high in Vitamin K that helps to protect arteries and promote proper blood clotting. With the high amount of dietary nitrates, green leafy vegetables is shown to reduce blood pressure, decrease arterial stiffness and improve the blood vessels’ cell function. Aim to consume 2 servings of vegetables daily.
You may like to start to incorporate the above-mentioned foods into your diet in moderation. Do note to pair it with moderate-intensity exercise of at least 150 minutes per week. This will ensure a balance of goodness from nutrition and exercise.