World Heart Day 2023: Superfoods to keep your heart healthy
Many superfoods are brimming with the richness of nutrients that keep the heart healthy. This World Heart Day 2023, experts reveal a list of these superfoods
A heart-healthy diet is the cornerstone of cardiovascular well-being and while there isn't a singular "superfood" for heart health, a well-rounded diet rich in nutrient-dense options can significantly enhance heart health. Many superfoods are brimming with the richness of nutrients that keep the heart healthy and the best part about these foods is that they can be easily incorporated into one’s diet.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Nutritionist Nupuur Patil shared, “Berries like blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are excellent sources of antioxidants called anthocyanins, which protect against oxidative stress and inflammation that can be contributing factors to the development of heart disease. Another great heart-healthy food is fatty fish like salmon which reduces blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol, known risk factors for heart disease. While fish is loaded with the goodness of many nutrients, the magic ingredient for heart health here is omega-3 fatty acids.”
For vegan folks, she recommended, “Tree nuts such as walnuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, leafy green veggies such as spinach and kale are particularly rich in vitamin K, thus protecting the arteries and ensuring normal blood clotting. Moreover, a diet rich in whole grains such as oats, barley, and quinoa, helps manage cholesterol and systolic blood pressure, thereby proving to be heart healthy.”
Bringing her expertise to the same, Sushma PS, Chief Dietician at Jindal NatureCure Institute, said, “A heart-healthy diet involves overall dietary patterns, including reducing processed foods, added sugars, and unhealthy fats while emphasizing fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Consult a registered dietitian or healthcare professional for personalized advice. Your heart will thank you.” She revealed the list of heart healthy superfoods -
- Leafy Greens: Begin with greens like spinach and kale, low in calories yet brimming with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, forming a protective shield around your heart.
- Whole Grains: Opt for whole grains like oats, whole wheat and quinoa, celebrated for their heart-boosting fiber, which actively lowers cholesterol levels.
- Berries: Blueberries and strawberries, loaded with antioxidants, combat high blood pressure and inflammation, reducing heart disease risk.
- Nuts: Almonds and walnuts, packed with healthy fats and fiber, work tirelessly to lower bad cholesterol.
- Legumes: Beans, lentils, and chickpeas provide plant-based protein and nutrients vital for heart health.
- Tomatoes: Lycopene-rich tomatoes cut heart disease risk while adding flavor.
- Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil's monounsaturated fats and antioxidants make it an ideal cooking choice.
- Avocado: Creamy avocados, rich in monounsaturated fats and potassium, regulate blood pressure and lower bad cholesterol.
- Dark Chocolate: High cocoa content dark chocolate reduces inflammation and improves blood flow.
- Garlic: This humble bulb lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Green Tea: Catechins in green tea enhance blood vessel function.
According to Prakriti Poddar, Global Head, Mental Health and wellbeing at RoundGlass Living app, daily practices such as meditation and mindfulness and maintaining a nutritious diet can significantly contribute to a healthy heart and a happy life. She said, “They can help us reduce inherent risks for heart disease while amplifying our overall physical and mental wellbeing. World Heart Day is a perfect time to remember that our heart's wellbeing is deeply connected to our daily choices and developing healthy habits. You can start following a heart-healthy lifestyle by embracing a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods such as leafy greens, colourful berries, and omega-3-rich foods.”
She suggested, “A balanced diet should include plenty of plant-based foods, fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. Now, you must keep in mind that how you eat is just as important as what you eat. So, in addition to consuming healthy food, be mindful of consuming locally grown produce, adopting sustainable cooking practices and eating mindfully. Pursuing these habits, including a consistent meal schedule, and avoiding eating at night, can be deeply nourishing for your body and mind. Let’s not stop at food. The heart thrives on movement. Regular physical activity, be it a brisk walk, jog, or an invigorating Yoga session, is vital for improving our overall heart health. Living with a purpose and having authentic social connections have also been linked with longer life spans and healthier hearts.”