Eating a healthy diet can help keep you from developing heart disease later in life or preventing current heart conditions from worsening. Certain foods can impact cholesterol levels, blood pressure, inflammation, and more. If you are concerned with your heart health, visit AFC Urgent Care Norwalk to speak with one of our physicians. Our doctors can help diagnose and treat many illnesses, but they can also provide resources for maintaining health. 

Healthy Heart Foods

Leafy Greens

Everyone knows green vegetables are good for your overall health. They are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Leafy greens, however, such as spinach, kale, and collard greens, are good for your heart. They have vitamin K and dietary nitrates that protect your arteries and reduce blood pressure. It has been noted that the more leafy greens you eat, the less likely you are to develop heart disease. 

Whole Grains

Quinoa, brown rice, oats, barley, and whole wheat can all be considered whole grains. They are all high in fiber, which can help to lower cholesterol. Many different studies have been conducted on how whole grains can impact heart health. In them, it was found that eating more whole grains decreased the chance of heart disease by 22% and the risk of stroke by 25%. 

Fatty Fish

“Fatty” fish does not mean it is loaded in fats, but rather omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon, sardines, and tuna are all loaded with omega-3. This helps to decrease blood pressure, cholesterol and lower the chance of diabetes or obesity.

Berries

Like leafy greens, fruits such as berries are good for a person’s overall health. Berries, specifically, are rich in antioxidants that help prevent against oxidative stress and inflammation. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries can lower cholesterol, BMI, and systolic blood pressure.

Avocado

Similar to “fatty” fish, avocado has monounsaturated fats. These are linked to lowering cholesterol. They are also rich in potassium. This helps to fuel the heart, and one avocado in a day provides 28% more than the daily potassium required. This helps to decrease blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke by 15%. 

Seeds & Nuts

Chia seeds, flaxseeds, and hemp seeds all have a good source of omega-3 and fiber. Walnuts are a good source of fiber, magnesium, and copper. Almonds are a good source of various nutrients and minerals, but specifically monounsaturated fats and fiber. All of these nutrients have been mentioned throughout for their various heart health benefits. They’re all able to help lower cholesterol, decrease inflammation, and lower blood pressure.

Dark Chocolate

The main ingredient in chocolate, cacao, is rich in flavonoids. Those who eat dark chocolate are less likely to develop coronary heart disease, and calcified plaque in the arteries was decreased. Dark chocolate should have 70% cacao, or it may not have all the heart health benefits.